Patient Education

What is Knee Arthritis?

The knee is a type of hinge joint formed by the tibia (shinbone), femur (thighbone), and patella (kneecap). The ends of the bones in the knee joint are covered with cartilage, a tough, lubricating tissue that helps provide smooth, pain-free motion to the joint.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage, and it typically develops after years of constant motion and pressure in the joints. As the cartilage continues to wear away, bone begins to rub against bone, causing the irritation, swelling, stiffness, and discomfort commonly associated with arthritis.

What is Hip Arthritis?

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the leg to move in a variety of positions. The femoral head (ball) rides in the acetabulum (socket). The joint is lined with a lubricating tissue called cartilage, which cushions the joint as it moves and bears weight.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage, and it typically develops after years of constant motion and pressure in the joints. As the cartilage continues to wear away, bone begins to rub against bone, causing the irritation, swelling, stiffness, and discomfort commonly associated with arthritis.

Understanding Anterior Total Hip Replacement

Traditional surgery involves an 8-12 inch incision on the side or back of your leg. The Anterior Supine procedure uses a 3-6 inch incision on the front of your leg. This allows your surgeon to have an optimized view of your hip joint during surgery.

This procedure also allows your surgeon to preserve the tissue that keeps your joint tight, which reduces the risk of dislocation after surgery. Dislocation is when your hip comes out of the socket.

Benefits of the Zimmer MIS Anterior Supine Hip Procedure

While every patient’s experience may differ, the Anterior Supine Hip Procedure is designed to provide a number of benefits:

  • Accelerated recovery time and reduced pain, due to the minimal trauma to muscles, tendons and nerves
  • Reduced scarring from the use of a smaller incision than with traditional total hip replacement
  • More rapid stability of the hip, because the muscles are not disrupted during the procedure
  • Possible accelerated recovery time because key muscles are not detached during the operation

In addition, because the Zimmer MIS Anterior Supine Hip Procedure is a muscle-sparing procedure, patients may experience reduced rehabilitation time following surgery, as compared with the 6-8 weeks of rehab that is typical with traditional hip replacement procedures.

Understanding Knee Replacement

It’s the same idea as having most things fixed—worn parts are taken out, and new parts are installed in their place. In total knee replacement surgery, the damaged portions of the knee bones are removed, and the knee is resurfaced with metal and plastic implants. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Panel concluded that total knee replacement is extremely successful, resulting in “rapid and substantial improvement in the patient’s pain, functional status, and overall health-related quality of life in about 90% of patients.” Over 250,000 people a year undergo the procedure, in the US alone.

What is partial knee replacement?

Partial knee replacement is an option for the patient whose knee is damaged on one side and healthy on the other. The surgeon removes only the diseased portion of the knee before placing the implant, leaving the healthy portion untouched. As with any surgery, there are risks, and only a surgeon will be able to tell you if a partial knee is right for you.

How long does knee replacement last?

That’s a question no one can answer for sure. The patient’s physical condition, activity level, and weight all play a role. With appropriate activity, knee replacements can last many years. Your individual outcome depends on many factors that you can discuss with your surgeon.

What risks are involved?

Every surgical procedure has some risks and benefits. Your individual results will depend on your personal circumstances, and recovery takes time. Infection is a risk in any surgical procedure, and according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1.8% of patients get an infection in the first 2 years. When infection occurs after total knee replacement, it is most commonly caused by bacteria that enter the bloodstream during dental procedures or from urinary tract, skin, or fingernail infections. Although uncommon, when these complications occur, they can delay full recovery. For the first 2 years after your knee replacement, you must take preventive antibiotics before dental or surgical procedures that could allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. After 2 years, talk to your orthopedist and your dentist to see if you still need preventive antibiotics before other procedures.

Dislocation can result from improper positioning during surgery. Joint fracture has been reported following joint replacement and is typically caused by heavy weight or people with unrealistic performance expectations. How long a knee replacement will last varies from person to person. It depends on many factors, such as your physical condition and activity level, body weight, and the surgical technique.

Blood clots in the leg veins are the most common complication of knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon will outline a prevention program. This may include periodic elevation of your legs, lower leg exercises to increase circulation, support stockings, and medication to thin your blood.

How do I know which knee is right for me?

Knee replacements have been highly successful for more than 30 years. According to the National Institutes of Health, 9 out of 10 patients who undergo the procedure report improved pain relief, knee function, and overall health-related quality of life. It is important to be involved in your recovery, and there are some additional things about knee replacement you may wish to discuss with your primary doctor and an orthopedic surgeon:

Be flexible

Flexion, or bending, is an important subject when talking with your doctor about which knee replacement is right for you. Many everyday activities require good range of knee motion, such as climbing stairs (75-140 degrees) and sitting in a chair (90-130 degrees). Other activities, such as gardening, golfing, kneeling, or sitting cross-legged, can demand an even greater degree of bending. Zimmer was the first to develop several high-flex knee implants, including NexGen® and Gender Solutions Knees, which accommodate 155 degrees of deep-knee bending in patients who are able. Most other knee replacements accommodate knee bending only up to 125 degrees. Talk to your doctor about the risks that are associated with knee replacement.

Minimally Invasive Options

Traditional knee replacement surgery involves a long incision (8 to 12 inches) and a lengthy rehabilitation. Over the past decade, however, minimally invasive techniques have been developed to place the very same clinically proven joints. Today, there are even minimally invasive procedures for partial knee replacement. You and your surgeon can determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery.

Home After Surgery?

Home Preparation for Joint Replacement Surgery

When you and your orthopedic surgeon decide that joint replacement surgery is the best option to relieve pain and restore motion, you will begin the normal preparation for surgery. You should notify your surgeon about any of the medications you are presently taking because some medications must be stopped before surgery. All surgeries carry certain risks and possible complications. Before surgery, your surgeon will explain the possible complications. Your orthopedic surgeon may ask you to see your primary care physician to make sure that you do not have any health conditions that may complicate your surgery.

You may be asked to donate blood before your surgery. There are several options regarding blood donation and surgery, and all of these options should be explained to you. Surgery also requires anesthesia.

There may be some options regarding anesthesia and they will be explained to you. Your options will be based on your health history, the medications you presently take, and the results of your physical examination.

Your surgeon may also recommend that you start a strengthening program before surgery. The prescribed exercises are designed to help add strength, flexibility. Strengthening your muscles before surgery can assist your postoperative recovery.

After knee replacement or other joint replacement surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will give you a specific recovery plan that you should carefully follow. Do not attempt exercises that are not prescribed by your surgeon, and do not attempt to alter your recovery schedule. It takes time for your joint to heal properly.

Planning ahead for your return home.
  • Launder all of your dirty clothing before your surgery. Have loose, comfortable clothing set aside for your recovery time.
  • Prepare single-serving meals before your surgery. These meals can be heated quickly in a microwave and there is less to clean up.
  • Be sure to remove loose rugs and other trip hazards such as electrical cords and magazine racks from walking paths to avoid accidents or falls. If necessary, widen furniture paths to accommodate a walker or cane.
  • To simplify accessibility, place regularly used items such as remote controls, medications, and reading materials in easy-to-reach locations.
  • Un-tuck bedding to allow for easier access in and out of your bed. If your bedroom is on a second floor, it may be helpful to temporarily relocate your sleeping arrangements to a single floor. This will avoid having to climb stairs when you are not feeling your best.
  • Having some assistance after total joint replacement can also be very beneficial. Contact family members or friends ahead of time so they may make the necessary arrangements to assist in your recovery.
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Dundon Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

465 Union Ave Suite C
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
Phone 908-429-7600 x612