The knee is one of the strongest and most important joints in the body, supporting your weight and allowing you to move your lower leg comfortably and freely. However, a severely damaged knee joint as a result of arthritis or injury can make simple everyday activities like walking, squatting and jumping difficult.
When that happens, considering undergoing knee replacement surgery in Singapore is crucial to help you regain your quality of life.
In this article, we will be exploring when knee replacement surgery is required, as well as the latest advancements that make the procedure a preferred option for many patients. Read on to find out more.
When do you need knee replacement surgery?
If you have exhausted most non-surgical options such as taking medications and using walking supports but are still experiencing pain or a reduced range of motion, then knee replacement surgery may be beneficial for you.
It is an alternative treatment method that will relieve pain and correct leg deformity, helping you to resume normal life and activities.
Knee replacement surgery is now a routine procedure that is performed extensively by trained specialists with very good outcomes. It is also a standard procedure that is covered by insurance.
Advancements in knee replacement surgery
Since the first knee replacement surgery was performed in 1968, improvements in technology and surgical equipment over the years have made the procedure more effective for many patients and shortened hospital stays and recovery periods.
Here are the two most common types of knee replacement surgery done by orthopaedic surgeons in Singapore:
Robotic total knee replacement surgery
A robotic knee replacement surgery (MAKOplasty®), just like its name suggests, utilises a robotic arm to allow orthopaedic surgeons to treat the damaged area with accuracy. This can be in the form of a total or a partial knee resurfacing procedure which offers precision to spare the surrounding bones and ligaments from unnecessary surgical trauma, making the recovery process easier and quicker.
The procedure is considered minimally invasive since small incisions are made to reduce blood loss. It is also less painful and results in less scarring following the surgery.
Unicompartmental partial knee replacement surgery
If the disease is only limited to one area of your knee joint, another alternative to a total knee replacement surgery is unicompartmental partial knee surgery. Only a portion of your knee gets resurfaced with metal and plastic components during the procedure through smaller incisions.
A unicompartmental partial knee replacement surgery is also less invasive and will result in less pain, blood loss and a reduced risk of infection. Most patients who have undergone the surgery spend less time in the hospital and can get back on their feet earlier than those who have gone through total knee replacement.
As most parts of your knee joint are preserved, you will find that it feels more natural and comfortable to bend your knees and perform daily activities.
It is advisable to speak to your orthopaedic surgeon to find out which option is more suitable for your condition and needs. There are several steps that are required.
Steps to a knee replacement surgery
Consultation with your orthopaedic specialist who will examine you and review your prior medical history.
Proper weight-bearing x-rays of both the knees. Sometimes a CT scan may be necessary for preoperative planning when planning a robotic aided surgery or a partial knee replacement.
After the investigations, the orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the surgery, risks and rehabilitation phase with you.
Finally, a cost estimate is provided and insurance pre-authorisation for the surgery is done.
Latest rehabilitation options
After knee replacement surgery, your orthopaedic doctor will recommend some rehabilitation options that will aid in your recovery process.
Continuous passive motion (CPM)
CPM is a form of therapy in which a machine is utilised to move your knee joint without you physically moving it or exerting any effort. Its main purpose is to prevent joint stiffness after a knee replacement surgery and to improve your range of motion so you can get back to normal activities as soon as possible.
Injecting nerve blocks to the site of surgery is a form of pain management that has been proven to be really helpful for patients who have undergone knee replacement surgery. The risk of complications is low and the process entails minimal discomfort. You should be able to regain mobility fairly quickly and even return to playing sports in about eight weeks.
You may also be asked to wear an assistive device like a knee brace that comes equipped with a hydraulic pump as your muscles may be weak after undergoing knee replacement surgery, especially if you suffer from arthritis. You may also not have the inherent strength to get up from a seated position after surgery. Hence, a hydraulic brace stabilises the joint and allows you to get up without needing help.
Speak to an orthopaedic surgeon today
If you are considering undergoing knee replacement surgery but are unsure if it is the right option, speak to an orthopaedic surgeon today.
Dr Kannan Kaliyaperumal is an experienced and fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon treating knee pain and doing knee replacement surgery.