If you are having a knee replacement and are intimidated by the surgery, there are reasons you should be less afraid. The intimidation you feel about the procedure, beyond routine concerns, is often due to poor outcomes in previous decades. With advances in technology and surgical techniques, more patients are leaving the hospital quickly and without a lengthy recovery.
During pre-operative preparations, your surgeon may choose to take a vial of your blood for later use. The blood is placed in a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from plasma. Before closing the surgical site, your surgeon adds the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to the surgical site. Your surgeon will add PRP in layers. Some of the PRP will go around the artificial joint, and a little more is added as your surgeon closes the knee. The purpose of PRP is to increase healing time, slow bleeding and decrease infection risk by using your body's own natural healing agents.
Quicker Physical Therapy
Improved artificial joints and surgical techniques have made getting out of bed shortly after surgery easier. Furthermore, your long-term outcome is typically better when you are out of bed and walking around with assistance soon after surgery. The primary concern post-operatively is not only about your new joint. The longer you remain in bed after surgery, your risk of pneumonia and blood clots significantly increases. After a knee replacement, you may be out of the bed and starting mild forms of physical therapy on the same day, depending on the time of day you have surgery.
Better Artificial Joint Materials
Artificial knee joints can be made of several materials, depending on which part of the knee is replaced. Titanium, plastic and cobalt are among some of the materials found in artificial knee joints. Each material has unique properties and are not always suited for knee replacements. Since the knee is a weight-bearing joint with significant range of motion, all these factors need to be considered when your surgeon chooses the appropriate artificial joint.
Modern-day artificial knee joints are often constructed of titanium, because it has a lower risk of rejection and eliciting an inflammation response. Cobalt alloys are also used in some knee replacements because it offers better range of motion. There are plastic components of artificial knees, and they are used to supplement cartilage. High-quality materials have improved the longevity and post-operative complications associated with joint replacements.
Recent changes in surgical techniques and post-operative care have drastically improved outcomes for knee and other joint replacements. Patients are experiencing less pain, faster recovery time and decreased risk of post-operative infections.
For more information, contact Joseph P. Spott, DO or a similar medical professional.