If you’ve learned that you need knee replacement surgery, you may feel apprehensive. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Struan Coleman and his team understand this trepidation fully — it’s only natural before any type of surgical procedure.
Knee replacement surgery is major surgery, but if Dr. Coleman recommends it for you, he’s there to answer any pre-surgery questions — and help allay any fears — in addition to expertly performing the procedure and monitoring your recovery afterward.
His experience and approach make him highly sought after by those needing many types of orthopedic services.
Why might I need knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement is the most commonly performed type of joint replacement surgery. In fact, over 600,000 individuals undergo knee replacement across the United States annually.
Typically, replacement is necessary when the pain and joint deterioration caused by osteoarthritis is so serious that it severely limits your mobility and lowers your quality of life:
chronic pain doesn’t just stress your knee joint, it affects your emotional health as well. A serious traumatic injury might necessitate the surgery, too, though that’s less common.
Knee replacement is necessary when:
- Conservative treatments are no longer effective
- Activities associated with daily living are drastically hampered
- You can’t walk without the help of a cane or walker
- The cartilage deterioration between your knee joints has caused significant irreversible damage
If anti-inflammatory medications, injections, physical therapy, and other commonly prescribed treatments aren’t alleviating your pain and allowing you more freedom of movement, Dr. Coleman may suggest knee replacement surgery.
What does knee replacement surgery entail?
Since Dr. Coleman’s goal is to alleviate your pain and increase your range of movement, he must perform several tasks during knee replacement surgery, and this requires a significant preparatory step on his part. He assesses whether you need a partial or full knee replacement by reviewing the condition of three components of your knee joint:
- The part of your knee that’s attached to the femur (thigh bone)
- The part of your knee that’s connected to your tibia (thigh bone)
- Your patella (kneecap)
During surgery, he decides which parts of your knee can be saved, removes the ones that are damaged, and replaces them with artificial components made from metal alloys, plastic, or ceramic.
How do I prepare for my knee replacement?
Since Dr. Coleman has performed so many knee replacements, he recommends patients take certain steps to prepare for the big day:
1. Learn all you can
Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Coleman questions about your condition, anesthesia, the material that your replacement parts will be made of, the goals for your procedure, his advice about recovery, and anything else. This gives you peace of mind.
2. Provide valuable information
Dr. Coleman wants to know about any other health conditions you have, any medications you take (some may need to be stopped prior to surgery), your personal medical history, and who the friend or family member will be that he communicates with on surgery day. This makes for a smoother experience for everyone.
3. Ask about knee exercises
Knee exercises can increase your flexibility and joint strength so you go into surgery in optimal condition. Ask Dr. Coleman which ones he recommends for you. Taking this step can also help with your recovery.
4. Quit smoking
Laying off cigarettes before surgery and quitting for good will improve your blood circulation, lower your infection risk, and speed healing.
5. Cut out alcohol use 48 hours before surgery
Alcohol thins your blood, and consumption right before surgery could contribute to clotting problems. Recreational drug use can impact how your body reacts to surgery as well, so be sure to discuss this with Dr. Coleman well in advance of your procedure.
6. Eat healthy, and lose weight if you need to
Good nutrition helps all of your body’s systems and promotes healing. If you’re living with extra pounds, now’s the time to lose them. Your knee will experience less stress after surgery.
7. Prepare your home for your recovery phase
Remove any fall hazards like throw rugs and electrical cords that are in the way at home, make sure all your rooms are well-lit, and cook some meals now and freeze them. This is the right time to take steps that make life easier upon your arrival home after your knee replacement.
Being prepared for your knee replacement well in advance of when it happens raises the likelihood that both your surgical experience and recovery will go as smoothly as possible.
To learn more about knee replacement surgery, call one of our New York office locations or our Philadelphia office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Coleman, or request one online.