Knee replacement is quite common, nearly 600,000 of the procedures are performed in this country every year. Dr. Arjun Saxena, an orthopedic surgeon at St. Mary Medical Center, says patients who are not yet ready for an operation can take some non-surgical steps. Losing just a few pounds can relieve a lot of pressure on the joint. Exercise for strength and stability, taking anti-inflammatory medications and injections can all help ease the pain.
Dr. Saxena says when patients and doctors agree that surgery is the best option, what a person does before the operation can make a huge difference in the experience. He says taking classes helps educate the patient on what to expect before, during and after surgery. Some people are also sent to physical therapy before the procedure takes place, to improve strength and balance.
He says the knee replacement surgery lasts between 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and patients are up and walking the same day. Hospitalization is one to two days with patients using a walker or cane for support. After release, physical therapy begins at home to get patients back to their pain free lives as quickly as possible.