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Understanding the Basics Behind Knee Replacement
What is Knee Replacement?
When non-surgical treatments and conservative measures (like arthroscopy) aren’t enough to relieve symptoms and restore function, total joint replacement may be necessary.
A total knee replacement (or knee arthroplasty) works by removing damaged bone and cartilage, often occurring due to arthritis or acute injuries. Once removed, your surgeon will replace your damaged joint with a prosthesis. These prosthetic joints are made from metal, ceramic, and/or plastic materials, replicating the shape and range of motion of your knee.
Our highly-trained orthopedic knee physicians at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance have the expertise required to treat numerous issues, both surgically and non-surgically. When you visit a specialist at KCOA, we focus on creating a treatment plan based on your specific conditions, symptoms, and recovery goals.
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance Knee Replacement Assessment
Assessing the Injury
Determining the proper treatment process for knee and leg injuries starts with an assessment from one of our experienced providers.
You can think of knee pain as a spectrum, with some instances being more severe than others. The KCOA orthopedic specialists always focus on each patient and their concerns before creating a treatment plan.
Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:
From there, we can decide what treatment option will align best with your needs and lifestyle goals. Once we’ve completed a proper assessment, your provider will often begin with a physical examination to help determine the origin point of your pain. In some cases, advanced testing may be required for a full diagnosis.
Also called radiographs, an X-ray captures a picture of the knee. Orthopedic physicians may order an X-ray to rule out the possibility of a fracture (broken bone), osteoarthritis, or other bone-related conditions.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI captures images of muscles, bones, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons to help provide information other tests can’t detail. During an MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. The machine creates a magnetic field around you, using pulsed radio waves to form the MRI images.
Establishing a Care Plan
Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you.
Many people believe it’s best to wait until pain becomes severe, leading them to “put off” or delay treatments like knee replacement. If you are in constant discomfort, have shooting or stabbing pains, have limited range of motion, or an inability to perform your daily activities, knee replacement may be right for you. New technologies allow patients with knee pain to fully recover and enjoy the benefits of a more functional, pain-free lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least 2 phone calls:
Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:
Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery. Always check with your physician before surgery for specific instructions.
Most physicians require that patients not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery. Additionally, you will need to designate a family member or friend to drive you home on the day you are released from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.
Day of Surgery
If you schedule your surgery with a KCOA physician, you can expect the following on surgery day:
How it Works
The length of the procedure will vary based on the individual patient and any variances necessary to complete the procedure safely and successfully. Most can expect a “standard” knee replacement to take approximately two hours.
A knee replacement in Kansas City is an invasive procedure, but one that is relatively common. For your surgery, we will put patients under anesthesia and generally complete the procedure in approximately two hours. With any knee replacement, it’s important to remember that your procedure is not a “quick fix” and that recovery will take time. Many of our patients go home the same day following their procedure. If necessary, most hospital stays are 2 days or less.
How it Works
During your procedure, your surgeon will remove parts of the affected joint and replace it with a prosthetic implant. These artificial prostheses mimic your body’s natural design, allowing the joint to achieve normal range of motion and helping patients to resume their normal activities.
They’re also made with a variety of different materials, including metal, plastics, and ceramics. The material and geometric shape of the implant used for the procedure will depend on the individual needs of the patient.
Most implants used during a knee replacement in Kansas City last a minimum of 15 to 20 years. Ultimately, your surgeon will provide you with a recommendation for the type of prosthesis used. All decisions made at KCOA are done collaboratively between the patient and their care team in order to provide the best possible experience.
The recovery process from any joint replacement surgery greatly varies on a number of factors. Your procedure, age, activity level, and other factors contribute to the length of your recovery. Generally, however, most people can expect to see noticeable improvement to symptoms and function within about 12 weeks after the procedure.
In the aftermath of your knee replacement, taking care of your body is essential. Your provider and your care team will provide you with a post-operative plan to achieve the best results from treatment. This treatment plan may include activities like exercise, mobility work, and physical therapy. If you live a sedentary lifestyle and don’t follow your treatment plan, you may not achieve optimal results.
What to Expect
Additionally, patients can improve their recovery results by taking medications and getting adequate amounts of rest. We expect patients will need to use assistive devices such as a walker, crutches, or cane for a few weeks following the procedure. Finally, make sure that you keep your incision both clean and dry throughout your recovery.
If you have any questions about your specific recovery process, contact your care team and they’ll get all your questions answered.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Knee & Leg Injuries
With so many different parts working together in your knees, there are many potential causes of pain. And each of those causes has a unique set of symptoms.
Knee replacements are major procedures, generally recommended after all other options have been exhausted. Though you can treat many knee issues with conservative measures and non-surgical options, a knee replacement may be necessary if the patient’s knee doesn’t respond to these measures.
Causes of Knee Pain
The body has different kinds of joints, and they all face different challenges. The severity of your knee and leg pain can vary based on a number of factors, including the location and the source of the issue. The knee is a very vulnerable joint in your body, and the wear and tear builds up over the years. Soft tissue made up of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels protects these joints and bones.
As the years go on, many people struggle with the effects of repeated movements, such as walking, running, or jumping. Arthritis stemming from previous injuries can also play a factor, causing a knee replacement to be the best option for treatment.
In most cases, surgery is not the first option for treatment at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance. If we can treat your knee issues with more conservative treatments, we’ll choose those options. We typically exhaust all non-surgical options prior to recommending surgery. Non-surgical treatments for knee injuries include:
A trained therapist will focus on the issue that’s causing the pain or symptoms as well as the deficits that are present as a result of the injury. Stretches, strengthening exercises, manual soft tissue work and modalities like hot and cold therapy may be used to help you recover.
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil) or prescription medications. Especially with NSAIDs, you should always talk to your doctor to ensure they are the right treatment for you.
Cortisone injections can help reduce inflammation, and the effects tend to last for 3 to 6 months before you might need another one. Many people manage their pain with injections and physical therapy.
Regenerative medicines like stem cell injections or platelet-rich plasma can help nourish worn or damaged tissue. This option works best if you have mild-to-moderate knee pain.
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is here to help.
Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.
With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.
Overland Park, Kansas10777 Nall Ave Suite 300 Overland Park, KS 66211
Leawood, Kansas3651 College Blvd. Leawood, KS 66211
Kansas City, MissouriSaint Luke's Medical Plaza #1 4320 Wornall Rd., Ste. 610 Kansas City, MO 64111
Belton, MissouriBelton Regional Campus 17067 S Outer Rd #301 Belton, MO 64012
Merriam, Kansas7450 W. Frontage Rd Merriam, KS 66203
Shannon is very caring and encouraging. She listens to my questions and explains what to expect going forward very thoroughly. Hopefully I don’t need my other shoulder replaced, but if I did I would come back to Shannon and Dr. Van Den Berghe.
This place is amazing! I cannot say enough good things about our experience here! From the reception desk where they were beyond helpful and even made phone calls for me to my kids pediatrician to very short wait time then the patience and help of doctors and staff that were great with my 3 year old! Getting same day service this great was so nice! Love this place and highly recommend!!
The best staff.
The best staff. Everyone in this office are extremely friendly. I would recommend this office to anyone.
6 weeks post op and Dr. Brown says I’m progressing well. She’s very knowledgeable, and is very quick to answer any questions I have. She’s also very personable, we laughed a lot during my last appointment. Looking forward to seeing her again.