A uni and total knee replacement have made a significant improvement to millions of lives. Quality of life is something every person wants to achieve and maintain.A knee replacement can offer a less painful and better quality of life for you. It will assist you in your preparation for surgery, and has guide lines as to what to expect during your stay in hospital.
It also answers some more commonly asked questions. A uni and total knee replacement is a surgical procedure which is designed to replace your own damaged knee joint.
There are two main objectives for having this surgery:
The artificial joint is a replica of your own joint in size and structure, though one must realize that it does require some care and considerations. The uni and total knee replacement replaces each component of your own knee.
Before your surgery:
You may be required to consult a physician before you undergo surgery. This is a full medical examination to assess your health and to ensure you are fit to undergo surgery. Blood tests may be done, including cross matching blood incase a blood transfusion is required after surgery. This is rare, but a necessary precaution to take.
An ECG (electrocardiogram) ensures your heart is strong enough for the surgery. Chest X-Rays and a lung function test may also be performed. Take prescribed medications as you have been. And, remember to take these with you for the duration of your hospital stay.
Ensure you inform your surgeon if you are on chronic medication, and if you have any allergies. Inform your surgeon if you have had any recent coughs or colds, and if you suspect you may have any skin infection (this includes ingrown toe nails, and any scratch that may postpone your surgery). Make all necessary arrangements for home so your stay in hospital will be calm and help you recover.
Your medical aid will authorize your stay in hospital. Please make sure you bring your membership card with you when you are admitted.
Before your surgery:
You will be required to have nothing to eat or drink for at least eight hours before your surgery. You will be admitted to a bed in the hospital and a nurse will take a medical history. You will be given a hospital gown to wear for surgery.
Your knee will be cleaned prepared for surgery. An ice pack may be put onto your knee. Your anaesthetist may give you a pre-medication to help you relax before going to surgery. The surgery is done in a sterile (ultra-clean) operating theatre.
Depending on your health, you may be an given an epidural ( numb from the waist down ) and general anaesthetic. The duration of the surgery will range, so ask your family not to worry if they wait for you. You will be carefully monitored and cared for all the way through your operating theatre experience.
In hospital after your surgery:
You will be admitted to a surgical high care ward after your surgery. This allows nursing staff and doctors 24 hour observation and care. You will find that you have a catheter inserted in your bladder. This is normal and allows your bladder to empty without you having to move. It will not be uncomfortable and will be removed once you are more mobile.
Your knee will be dressed in a bulky dressing, and you may have little or no feeling in your legs after your epidural anaesthetic. This is normal. Pain will be controlled, usually with a patient controlled pain pump, or with pain relieving medication as prescribed by your anaesthetist. This allows you to control any discomfort you may feel.
Nursing staff are available all the time, and will be available for your care and comfort. Please do not hesitate to call on them. Your drip will be removed once you are eating and drinking sufficiently, and once antibiotics that administered are completed. Your stay in the hospital will depend entirely on your progress. You will be visited by physiotherapists to get you up and doing some exercises. He or she will also get you used to using crutches, which you will be required to use for a time.
You will be fitted with tight stockings which you must wear until your surgeon has followed you up and is happy. This may be for a week or two. An ice-pack will be fitted on your knee after surgery. This helps to reduce swelling and pain. This should be used four times a day for 20 minutes at a time. You will be prescribed some pain medication and may be instructed to use medication to reduce the risk of blood clots.
After discharge from hospital:
The essential point to remember that these are only guidelines to follow with regard to your recovery. Every person is different, and the person in charge of your recovery is you. You know your body, and your body will have its own rate of recovery.
You will be required to see your doctor for follow up appointments. The initial few weeks you will be carefully monitored for infection, excessive swelling and that your range of movement of your knee. Please ensure to call the rooms if you experience unusual pain or swelling.
Your doctor will guide you as to what movement and exercise you should be doing at stages of your recovery. This is very individual and should also be guided by your own pain associated with performing these exercises. It is essential to start moving your operated leg and not to be scared to trust it. It will help your healing process and get your better quality of life back sooner.
Your doctor will guide to when as to when you are able to start driving. X-rays will be taken over months after surgery to ensure your knee replacement is in place, and adapting to your body.
You and your total knee replacement for the future:
Care should be taken not to put excessive stress on your knee.Getting back to exercise is suggested. Try to avoid running and excessive high impact sports.
The aim is to have a good quality of life again.Be aware that your implant may activate a metal detection device, such as those in airports. Inform personnel of this! If you develop any infection in your body, such as tooth abscess, or skin infection, the bacteria may affect your artificial joint. Consult your doctor or general practitioner so antibiotics may be prescribed.
A prophylactic antibiotic course may also be prescribed before some dental procedures.