Do you suffer from knee problems? Are you facing potential knee surgery? If the answer is yes, it may seem like listening to your doctor is your only option. However, knee surgery can be very serious. You may wish to consider some things before jumping right into scheduling with the doctor. Below are ten questions to ask before you decide to take the risk and go under the knife.
1. Is Surgery the Only Option?
Indeed, no one enjoys having surgery. Be sure to rule out all possible options before agreeing to have the procedure performed. Robotic arms controlled by your doctor now perform many surgeries.
There are risks associated with any surgery, though, and it’s always best to avoid it unless there is no other way. Remember that total knee replacements are not the only choice you have. There are also partial replacements as well as customized ones.
2. What Type of Surgery is the Correct Choice?
Many factors weigh into a doctor’s decision when presenting a list of surgical options. These include but are not limited to:
- Cartilage Repair
- Cartilage Restoration
- Whole Knee Replacement
- A Partial Knee Replacement
- Knee Arthroscopy
Total knee replacement has the highest success rate and is, therefore, the choice of most surgeons.
3. How Do I Increase My Chances of a Successful Surgery?
Knee surgery of any sort is relatively serious. Be sure to follow any advice or guidelines your doctor gives you before the surgery date. For example, if you drink alcohol regularly, your doctor may ask you to stop several months beforehand.
4. What Medications Can I Use to Control Pain?
There are many options available for pain relief after surgery. Some of those options will be limited, depending on your personal health history. Mostly, you will be expected to take it easy and let your body rest.
5. Possible Complications
The chances of complications is perhaps one of the most important questions that you need to ask before any surgery. Make sure the doctor or doctors you’re working with understand your health history fully. This way, if something happens to go wrong, he or she (or the team) can administer the proper medicines or procedures to protect you should that happen. The possible scenarios include but are not limited to:
- Nerve Injury
- Blood Vessel Injury
- Blood Clot Formation
- Post-Surgical Pain
Many of the possible surgical complications can be avoided if you follow the advice of the doctor in advance. For example, if you are a smoker and have been one for many years if you do not stop prior to the surgery, your blood vessels will be more brittle and more apt to rupture. This can lead to surgical trauma if the bleeding does not stop.
6. What is the Follow-Up Care Procedure?
Limitations on movement are relatively common after knee surgery. You may have to undergo some type of rehabilitation as well in physical therapy to regain full range of motion. Be sure to keep an eye out for increased swelling. If this occurs, be sure to notify your doctor so that he or she can prescribe the correct medication to address it.
7. How Will I Move Around Post-Surgery?
If you need double knee replacements, the physician will not have them repaired at the same time. You will likely have to schedule the second surgery a year out to allow you to heal in between surgeries. You may have to utilize crutches or possibly a wheelchair, depending on your needs and the severity of the surgery.
8. What’s the Expected Recovery Time?
Your recovery timeline will depend on your previous health history. Everyone has a different history, but it is important to let your doctor know what your expectations are before going into the surgery. Some individuals can recover in a matter of months with regular physical therapy, and others may need a little more time to heal. Most people can expect a six to eight-month recovery time on average.
9. What About Postponing Surgery for Awhile?
No one likes to face major surgery, but postponing knee surgery runs the risk of further damaging the area. For most people though, pushing the surgery back for a few months or even a year is acceptable.
10. How Much Physical Therapy Will I Have?
This ultimately depends on you and how well you are healing after having knee surgery. Generally, expect it to feel a bit like part-time employment. You won’t be there all the time, but it might seem like it’s a lot.
However, don’t lose heart. Knee replacement takes time to recover from properly. Take a little bit at a time and do as the physical therapist instructs. This will ensure a successful outcome.