How to prepare for knee surgery
Knee surgery may be necessitated by a knee injury, arthritis, or another condition that causes chronic knee pain. Whether or not you require knee surgery and the type of surgery that is best for you will be decided based on an assessment by a doctor.
Knee replacement surgery can be performed as partial knee replacement or total knee replacement. In both cases, metal and plastic parts are used to replace the damaged joints in the knee, and are shaped in such a way to maintain its normal functioning as well as possible. In the case of total knee replacement, all cartilage is removed from the knee joint, whereas in a partial knee replacement only the most damaged areas of cartilage are removed. Partial knee replacement surgery requires a smaller incision and has a shorter recovery time.
The recovery time for total knee replacement surgery is usually six weeks or longer, and requires a lot of physical therapy. This can be a painful process to get the mobility of the knee back. Aids such as canes and walkers are often used.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is surgery performed through small incisions made around the knee. An arthroscope, a small surgical instrument with a light that is attached to a television monitor, is used, along with instruments placed in three other incisions around the knee, to repair small injuries and tears in the bones and cartilage of the knee. It can smooth out bones and remove small fragments. This form of surgery requires less cutting, and a shorter recovery time.
The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of the four ligaments that stabilize the knee joint. ACL surgery is performed only if the ACL is completely torn. If this is the case, the other ligaments are more susceptible to future breakage. ACL surgery is typically done based on the age and level of agility of the patient. In younger patients, the surgery will allow them to get back to their normal level of activity. An ACL joint is not really repaired during surgery; it is replaced with a new ligament that is most often fashioned from a piece taken from the patella tendon. Getting back to normal level of activity after ACL surgery can be a long road, and depends on the individual. A lot of physical therapy is required, to train the knee to have stability and balance, and then to regain its strength. This can take anywhere from several weeks to months.
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