The Long-term Outlook for a Knee Replacement
Life for most recipients of a total knee replacement is vastly improved after healing from the procedure. Pain that was once always present is often eradicated, allowing normal activity levels during the day and sound, healthy sleep at night. About nine out of 10 patients report having significantly less pain in their joint after it has been replaced [source: Mayo Clinic]. Post-operative satisfaction, though, is related to how unsatisfied the patient was before the surgery -- another reason why it's preferable to exhaust all other options before getting a total knee transplant.
The new knee isn't a perfect knee. Most people won't be able to fully extend their leg (but they'll come close) or kneel without discomfort. It may be painful to climb steep stairs or take a seat in a chair that's low to the ground.
Compared to how the old knee was feeling right before the surgery, the replacement will feel much better. Exercise is possible -- it just won't involve running, jumping or juking and jiving. Basketball, racquetball and jogging are out, but swimming, walking and biking are encouraged. The recipient should take care to avoid falls, since damage to the implant may require further surgery and another replacement.
The orthopedic specialist will want to touch base yearly with the recipient to make sure no functional or mechanical problems are developing.
Artificial-knee recipients should inform dentists and doctors about the implant before undergoing any procedure. If bacteria is introduced into the body during dental or medical work, it could lead to a serious infection around the joint. Patients are usually advised to take prescribed antibiotics before any medical or surgical procedure following a knee replacement.
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