When a surgery is carried out as a result of the knee joint being worn out due to excessive exertion or because of osteoarthritis, it is called a 'knee replacement surgery'. It is the last resort for dealing with symptoms of osteoarthritis like excruciating pain and swelling.
In this surgery, the damaged joint lining is removed. Then, the joint surfaces are replaced with plastic and metal implants, which work in a manner similar to a normal knee. There are two types of surgeries for knee replacement.
Partial Knee Replacement
Also known as unicompartmental arthroplasty, this surgery mostly involves the removal of only the damaged surface areas of the knees rather than the whole cartilage. Since a small incision is made, the amount of blood lost is very less. Therefore, it is a widely considered option for osteoarthritis patients.
Total Knee Replacement
This is a procedure where the whole of the knee cartilage is removed, and is replaced by metal and plastic. This is a good option for patients of severe osteoarthritis. This is the final solution to the extreme pain and inflammation experienced in the knee area by such patients. The pain experienced is more in this surgery compared to partial surgery.
Duration of Recovery
As mentioned earlier, what kind of surgery it is, and how well you are prepared mentally is a major factor in determining the recovery time. It is especially important if you are living alone. Your willingness, and the way you adapt and accept the physiotherapy is also a significant factor.
Recovery in the Hospital
Most probably, the patient would need to be in the hospital for around 3 to 5 days post surgery. Majority of patients are asked to stand the next day after the surgery. Here, the type of surgery comes in to picture.
Recovery from partial surgery takes less time than the time needed for a double knee replacement. If patients can bear the weight, they can walk with the help of a walker in a couple of days. After a few days, the patients start on their physiotherapy and knee exercises. Before that, ankle and feet exercises are advised to avoid blood clotting and swelling.
Recovery at Home
Home is where most of the time is spent after the surgery, which is several weeks after you are discharged from the hospital. The first phase of rehabilitation to physiotherapy at home with strength-building exercises is around 3 to 6 weeks.
After that, the routine activities can be carried out, though gradually. For the first few weeks, kneeling and squatting is not advisable. You can drive after you get used to your routine activities, but that too depends upon how much you can bend your knee.
The total recovery time with all the factors responsible for that (your general health, your response to physiotherapy, no complications, and so on) is 2 to 3 months. In case there are any complications, then the things could be different.
Another factor to be considered in recovery time is the gender. For women and men, time for recovery could vary depending on the physique and bone structure. Hence, this time period of around 3 months, for a total recovery, can slightly differ for both men and women.
Even after you gracefully go through surgery, there would be activities which you would not be able to perform, but they would not matter in the routine course of life. It is all up to your attitude towards the whole process, which can either make it a less traumatic experience or a totally horrendous experience.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.