Knee arthritis can be debilitating. After struggling with the disease, patients may choose to have knee replacement surgery. Phoenix, Arizona, is home to two hospitals that specialize in this procedure.
Knee replacement surgery gets a technological boost:
This sleek, longlasting implant makes surgical knee repairs practical for younger patients.
Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic knee pain and disability. As joint cartilage deteriorates, joint space between bones narrows. To compensate, bones become thicker, creating bone spurs (osteophytes).
In advanced cases, cartilage becomes completely worn away. Bone ends rub against each other, resulting in deformities such as bow-legs.
Knee Arthritis Treatment
Treating knee arthritis begins conservatively, with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and weight loss. Surgical intervention should be considered only after trying these nonoperative therapies.
Some patients benefit from a steroid injection — a powerful, anti-inflammatory medication. Others with mild to moderate arthritis respond to weekly joint fluid injections, to improve the quality of knee joint fluid.
Deciding Upon Knee Replacement Surgery
Ultimately, the decision to have knee replacement surgery rests with the patient. An ideal candidate is someone whose condition does not improve with treatment options we just discussed. The arthritis simply may be too advanced.
Knee replacement surgery — in Phoenix, Arizona, and beyond — is a very popular topic in the media. However, patients should be mindful of risks of the surgery: infection, blood clot and loosening of the prosthesis over time.
A visual guide to knee replacement surgery:
From left to right above: A healthy knee, a knee with damaged cartilage and a surgically repaired knee. In knee replacement surgery, the diseased bone ends of the femur and tibia are cut away and replaced by a smooth, metal covering, called a prosthesis. A plastic liner is placed between the metal components; this acts like a shock absorber. Components are fixed into place with special bone cement.
How Surgeons Perform Knee Replacement Surgery
In knee replacement surgery, diseased bone ends of the femur and tibia are cut away and replaced by a smooth, metal covering — a prosthesis.
A plastic liner, which acts like a shock absorber, is inserted between the metal components. Arthritis on the back of the patella is also removed and replaced with a small plastic piece.
Special bone cement fixes these components into place, allowing patients to walk immediately after surgery.
Planning for Knee Replacement Surgery
See how John C. Hospitals provide advanced orthopedic care, from diagnosis to post-surgical rehabilitation.
Education is extremely important. Surgeons who perform knee replacement at Phoenix's two John C. Lincoln hospitals take great care to answer patient concerns thoroughly.
Patients also should seek medical clearance from their primary physicians, to review medical risks, medications and lifestyle changes.
We encourage home planning for patients preparing for knee replacement in Phoenix. Patients should seek postsurgery assistance from family members, friends and neighbors.
Recovering from Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement recovery spans hospital and home. Throughout the hospital stay, the patient will participate in physical therapy twice daily. Nurses will demonstrate activities that the patient can do on his or her own to promote motion and circulation, and they encourage patients to walk the halls.
At home, it's vitally important to aggressively work on therapy three times daily, at minimum. Physical therapy may be assigned three times per week.
Remember, the first six to eight weeks after surgery are critical for obtaining good motion in the new knee. The patient should have the goal of being able to bend his or her knee at least 0 to 90 degrees within two weeks of surgery. Consistent therapy is an important key to postoperative success.