Joint replacement: Myths and facts related to knee replacement surgery | Health


Joint Replacement Surgery involves replacing the worn out or damaged joint surfaces with artificial joints called prosthesis where knee, hip and shoulder joints are commonly replaced joints. Joint replacement surgeries are beneficial in relieving pain and restoring your lost mobility.

In total knee replacement surgery, all the three compartments (medial, lateral, patellofemoral) are replaced whereas in partial knee replacement surgery only the damaged compartment is replaced. Even though knee replacement surgery has good outcomes, there are some misconceptions regarding it.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Anup Khatri, Senior Consultant- Orthopaedics at Global Hospital in Mumbai’s Parel, debunked some of these myths and revealed facts –

1. Myth: Bending of knee, stair climbing, sitting cross-legged or sitting on floor is not possible after knee replacement surgery.

Fact: Most prosthesis used nowadays (HIGH FLEXION type) allow the same range of movement as normal knee joint. It allows patients to bend knees, stair climbing, and sitting cross-legged as well. It depends mainly on the quality of surgery done and postoperative rehabilitation.

2. Myth: After surgery, a few weeks of bed rest is needed and it takes months to recover.

Fact: In fact, patients are able to walk on the same day of surgery and most people get back to their routine activities within few weeks of surgery.

3. Myth: The metal in artificial knee implants may induce allergic reactions in the body.

Fact: The metals used are inert and do not react with body tissues. Also there are implants with coating of titanium alloy popularly known as gold knee, which are proven to be non-allergic and long lasting.

4. Myth: It is not possible to undergo surgery after the age of 65 years.

Fact: Age is not a limiting factor for the surgery. As Osteoarthritis is age related wear & tear of cartilage, one can undergo knee replacement successfully even after 65 years of age.

5. Myth: The success rate of surgery is very low.

Fact: Research shows that knee replacement surgery has 95% success rates in most patients. After surgery, people are able to perform their daily activities comfortably and without pain.

6. Myth: After surgery lifelong physiotherapy is needed and recovery is very slow.

Fact: Long term physiotherapy is not needed. The exercises taught while in hospital can be done at home. After joint replacement surgery, patients’ recovery has been faster and patients can be discharged from hospital in 3 days due to the advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques followed. Preconditioning also helps, wherein preoperatively patients’ nutritional status and muscle strengths are optimised and same are followed after surgery.

However, like any other surgery, there are some benefits and risks for this surgery too. It is always better to clarify any misconceptions by consulting your doctor.