From an interview with
Dr. Chad Thurman
McLeod Orthopaedics Florence/Hartsville
Knee Joint Replacements can offer tremendous lifestyle improvements. McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Chad Thurman tells you what to expect:
The best candidates for knee replacement are generally people with chronic knee pain that failed conservative care, such as medications, injections, therapy or braces. These people are at a point where the pain is inhibiting their activities of daily living.
The first step is to see an Orthopedic Specialist. You’ll have x-rays and talk to the surgeon, who’ll talk to you, take a look at your knee and evaluate what sort of management you’ve done already.
We ask people, “Are you at a place where the conservative care is no longer working? And is the pain keeping you from doing the things that you want to do?” When that’s the case, the patient and specialists jointly decide about fixing the knee, going through the rehab and conquering the pain.
We’ve seen a big improvement in post-operative pain management. We’ve also improved the metal, plastics and other materials used in the joint replacement. And there’s a new push toward modern technology, specifically in navigation for the surgery and the use of robot-assisted surgery, which is becoming more popular. So, we’re improving the medicine and pain management side, as well as the materials side in the new joints.
Recovery is a significant undertaking with about eight weeks of physical therapy and up to a year for full recovery.
The majority of the recovery responsibility is on the patient. We will guide the patient through that with therapy, but it’s really on the patient to push through the pain and take the therapist’s recommendations for increasing range of motion, strength and activity.
The newest study, published in the last six months, says the new joints will last roughly 20 years. There will be patients for whom it lasts longer and joints won’t last that long, but the 20 years is a good benchmark.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
After surgery and rehabilitation, you should try to stay active, maintain a normal body weight and eating a healthy diet. Other than that, no surgical maintenance or intervention is normally needed after the original surgery.
Find an Orthopedic Specialist near you.