If you have been afflicted with severe pain in the knees due to repeated injuries or arthritis, it may be opportune to consider knee surgery. Having a knee surgery is a far cry from ordinary medical procedures. It is a serious endeavor that will have a far-reaching impact on your life in the short term as well as the long term.
Hence, it is vital to do your homework beforehand and to be properly prepared for the surgery. Go step by step through the process to ensure best outcomes:
Ask Relevant Questions
It is good to clear all your doubts regarding the surgery from your medical team. The first type of question is: How long will my new joint last? Doctors will inform you that you can expect normally 98% success in ten years and 94% success rate after 20 years from surgery.
The second type of question is: What are the complications from this surgery? Major risk factors are inflammation, blood clots, and infection. For this, doctors will recommend medication like blood thinners and antibiotics for some time.
The third type of question is: how can I use my new knee joint? Especially if you are engaged in work that demands a physically active schedule, you will wonder when you can return to work. The answer depends on your pre-operative range of motion. If you were decently active before surgery, you can very much expect to return to an active life.
Another question is how much will all this cost? Check for knee replacement surgery cost with your medical team so as to be prepared financially.
Pre- Operative Evaluation
This may be conducted when you decide on the procedure in order to determine whether you are medically suitable. Usually 2 weeks before surgery, you will undergo:
- Physical exam
- Blood count test to check for anemia
- Coagulation testing
- Urine analysis
- Metabolic analysis of liver, kidney, and status of electrolytes
- ECG to ascertain health of heart
- Meet with an anesthesiologist to choose best anesthesia for you (General or epidural).
- X-ray and MRI scan to evaluate a condition of the knee (to determine best surgical approach).
Adjustments in Medication
If you are taking some prescription medication currently, your doctor or surgeon may make some adjustments. They may prescribe new drugs like anti-coagulants for the surgery. To combat infection which is a danger for those with weak immune system, antibiotics may be prescribed.
Also, doctors may recommend stopping of some drugs like NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) as well as Aspirin. NSAID’s include Naproxen or Ibuprofen. Instead, Tylenol may be recommended to fight pain and discomfort. This is to avoid any bleeding problems after surgery.
Around 20% of those undergoing knee surgeries need a blood transfusion. For this, you can bank your own blood (4 weeks before surgery) or arrange for blood from a blood bank or relatives/friends.
Doctors may recommend muscle strengthening exercise to start from before surgery itself. This will help in faster recovery and return to normal activities after surgery. Exercise will make your body stronger and help you heal better.
You must have a positive attitude regarding surgery. Do expect to deal with some level of discomfort and pain. Expect to depend on the help of someone else for normal activities and chores soon after surgery. Share a good, trusting relationship with your surgeon. Also, the cost of knee surgery should not be a cause for worry by making suitable arrangements.
These are some preparations you must make before knee surgery.
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