Knee surgery is the treatment of a variety of knee diseases, disorders, deformities and injuries to the knee joint and its components. There are a large number of minor and major knee surgeries but the most common is the knee replacement surgery type.
As this is a major surgical procedure it is important for you to be aware about every aspect of this procedure and its advantages as well as possible drawbacks. It is highly-advisable to have a detailed discussion with your orthopedic specialist/surgeon about the surgery, its pros and cons, etc. These are several frequently asked questions (FAQs) that are discussed before knee surgery:
You should have the area of the proposed surgical site washed and cleaned with regular cleaning at least from two weeks earlier. This will help prevent infection. Care should be taken to avoid scratches, burns, cuts, etc on the skin at the proposed surgical site so the skin stays healthy and strong for the surgery.
Eating and drinking should be avoided after midnight (or evening) before the surgery. An empty stomach is safer for anesthesia reasons.
Arthroscopy is a modern and minimally invasive diagnostic and surgical technique that helps orthopedic surgeons to get a clear view of the knee and its joint components for diagnosis as well as helps with guidance imaging during the surgical treatment procedure.
An arthroscopic diagnostic examination the surgeon will be required to make a small (keyhole) incision in the knee area. This is used to insert a small and thin (pencil-like) tube, the arthroscope, attached with a light source and small high-definition video camera to illuminate and magnify the joint structures of the knee.
This technique allows the orthopedic surgeon to view the insides of the knee joint for damage real-time without the need to make a large incision as required in a conventional ‘open-type’ surgical procedure.
In case of damage to the knee joint due to a disease or an injury, the doctor diagnoses it initially with a complete physical examination, along with other imaging diagnostic test, such as CT (computerized tomography) scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test, x-rays, etc.
However, at the time of the surgery the arthroscope technique allows the orthopedic surgeon to view the damaged cartilage and bones of the knee joint in real-time in a highly-detailed and magnified manner on a video monitor. This clear view of the knee joint helps the surgeon to assess the exact extent of the damage to it as well as to perform the required knee surgery with more precision and a higher rate of success.
There is no exact standard that can help determine that you require a knee replacement surgery. Although you are considered a candidate after your orthopedic specialist/doctor determines the need for knee replacement if you are facing severe pain and disability in your knee.
In some cases of knee problems, the issue gets resolved with simple lifestyle alterations, certain medications (painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs) and physical therapy. But these work for the mild knee damage as well as light injuries to the cartilage.
In case your knee is severely damaged and the knee cartilage and bones are not working normally you might be required to undergo one of the various knee treatment surgeries.
The orthopedic surgeon will likely bandage your knee and may also put a drainage tube in the surgical site for a few days so as to avoid fluid accumulating and causing infection in it. The knee will be kept elevated and cradled with you lying down.
Compression bandages and socks may be used to allow for improving blood circulation as well as to reduce the risk of a blood clot. Antibiotics and anticoagulants are also administered in some cases to prevent blood clots and infections.
Most patients are known to walk with the aid of crutches or a walking stick within a day or two after the knee surgery. Physiotherapists will help exercising the knee joint lightly a few hours after the surgery.
At home, the physical therapy is likely to continue for a few weeks or as long as it takes for the movement and strength to be restored in the operated knee joint.