Knee replacement is a metal and plastic covering for
unprotected, arthritic bone ends, which replaces cartilage that has worn
away over the years. Replacement can eliminate pain and allow you to move
easily. For many people who have knee arthritis, it also straightens the
Who Should Have Knee Replacement?
When arthritis knee pain severely limits your ability to
walk, work or perform even simple activities, consider knee replacement.
Is There an Alternative to Replacement?
Knee replacement is only recommended after careful
diagnosis of your joint problem. Arthroscopic or microscopic surgery is not
helpful once arthritis is advanced. Nor will anti-inflammatory drugs or
cortisone injections likely give you the same long-term relief as knee
How Long is the Hospital Stay?
The average hospital stay for knee replacement is 3-5
days. If both knees require replacement, it's usually best to do both at the
same time. That way the total disability will be only slightly longer than
the operation for one knee and the problem will be solved in the least
amount of time. In some cases, fixing just one knee can save the other for
two to three years, if the arthritis is not too advanced. Each individual
case is different.
How Long is Recuperation?
Each person's recovery follows its own schedule. You may
need an assistive device for a few weeks after the operation. You can drive
a car in 2-4 weeks. Most people gradually increase in their activities and
can slow dance in 6-8 weeks, and play golf, doubles tennis, shuffleboard, or
bowl in 12 weeks. More active sports, such as singles tennis and jogging,
are not recommended.
What is the Success Rate?
The quality of life improves dramatically following
successful replacements, as most orthopedic experts consider it the best
method of handling arthritis in the knee. Joint replacements have literally
put hundreds of thousands of disabled Americans back on their feet and
allowed them to enjoy their golden years.