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What is Total Knee Replacement (Arthroplasty) and When to Consider?

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Overview of total knee replacement surgery, or arthroplasty

Total knee replacement is a procedure where the knee joint is replaced with a prosthetic. Another term for this is knee arthroplasty, which literally means joint repair or replacement. This type of surgery is usually recommended for cases where there is severe joint damage that has not responded to conservative treatment options.

If you are dealing with serious knee pain as a result of injury or an age-related condition and are beginning to explore your surgical options, the following guide can help. By learning more about this type of surgery and the full range of treatment options for knee pain, you can make a more informed decision about care that gives you the best chance of returning to a healthy and active lifestyle.

When should patients consider total knee replacement?

Most cases of knee pain and related mobility problems are generally caused by either injury or natural degeneration which leads to conditions such as osteoarthritis. Upon diagnosis of one of these issues, doctors will first recommend nonsurgical treatments in most cases, such as rest, medication, physical therapy and steroid injections. If pain and limited range of motion persist, it could be a sign of significant joint damage.

In particular, the chronic joint inflammation and bone-on-bone friction related to arthritis of the knee can result in significant wear on both the upper and lower knee joint. For some patients, a procedure such as an arthroscopic repair or cleaning of the knee can help and other cases may be helped by a partial knee replacement. However, in situations where both the upper and lower knee joint endings are seriously damaged, a total knee replacement or arthroplasty will be the recommendation from surgeons.

Total knee replacement procedure and recovery

Once a patient has been evaluated and deemed a good candidate for total knee replacement surgery, they will be given preoperative instructions to prepare for the procedure. The surgery itself typically follows these basic steps:

  • The surgeon will access the knee joint with one or more incisions
  • The upper and lower joint surfaces will be prepared, which involves removing portions of bone
  • The joint surface will be replaced with a prosthetic and a medical grade spacer to enable smooth motion between the new joints

The procedure will usually take anywhere between one and two hours. Modern total knee replacements can use minimally invasive techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure. During the recovery process, patients will follow guidelines for incision care and a timeline for resuming daily activities. Physical therapy is a key part of the process, helping patients regain strength and mobility in the new joint.

Total knee replacement procedure cost 

Cost is a common concern among patients and generally depends on the specific procedure, the insurance carrier and other factors like the facility type. Medicare will generally cover total knee replacement and arthroplasty surgery that is necessary for treatment. At USA Spine Care, we work with Medicare, most private insurance carriers, as well as personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. We’ll be glad to answer any cost-related questions you have.

Contact us today

If you’re suffering from knee pain that is taking you away from the people and activities you love, the caring and dedicated team at USA Spine Care can help you learn about the treatment options that can help you find lasting relief. Contact us today to learn more.

 Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.

Total Knee Replacement "Quick Answers"

Patients who have total knee replacement (arthroplasty) can expect to have pain at the surgical site and at a higher level than prior to surgery, but patients report the pain is tolerable and moderate. Pain typically subsides in a few weeks but can take up to 6 weeks to resume normal activity and several more months for the pain and swelling to return to normal. Pain is managed through medication and physical therapy exercises.

Those recovering from total knee replacement surgery are asked to begin physical therapy almost immediately after surgery. Within 1-2 weeks individuals will see drastic improvements in range of motion and may be walking with the help of crutches, a walker and or knee brace. Within 2-3 months patients should be able to walk without assistance.

Total knee arthroscopy (replacement) is typically covered by Medicare Part A and B for those who qualify. Your physician must deem the procedure medically necessary before Medicare will cover the procedure. Many health insurances also cover total knee replacement procedures and recovery. Contact your insurance company for details or contact USA Spine Care and Orthopedics and we will check your coverage.

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