Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure replacing the patient’s knee joint with an artificial joint. For total knee prosthesis, the inferior femur region and the upper tibia region are replaced by two metallic components joined together by a polyethylene component.
Complication rates after total knee replacement are low. Major medical complications, such as heart attack or stroke occur infrequently. However, chronic disease may increase the potential for complications, more common in major surgery. Although less common, these complications, when they occur, may delay or limit the patient’s full recovery. Blood clots in leg veins are one of the most common complications. A prevention plan may include regular lifting of the legs, exercises for the lower legs to enhance circulation, anti-thrombotic stockings and anti coagulant medication. Despite improvements in materials and implant design, and also in surgical techniques, joint surfaces may wear out or joint components may become loose. In addition, although a 115º range of knee movement is expected after surgery, scar tissue may form on the knee and limit movement. Although it is unlikely to damage the veins or nerves, outer knee numbness is often felt, caused by the cutting of a small skin nerve during surgery.
Post-operative physiotherapy is initiated one to two days after surgery. Every exercise should be performed to ensure a faster recovery. Quadricep exercises as well as extension and flexing of the knees are of great importance. Stitches should be removed fourteen to sixteen days after surgery, depending on the wound scarring. A check-up is required after four to six weeks.