Knee arthritis is not a single disease, per say, but, a condition of joints leading to inflammation (swelling) degeneration. It is estimated that about 45 to 50 million people suffer from arthritis, but out of them about 5 lakh need knee surgery or a total knee replacement (TKR) at any point of time.
According to Dr Sushil Sharma, Senior Orthopedic surgeon, Kailash Hospital, Noida & Chairman of Arthritis Foundation of India, “At present, only 1,20,000 knee replacements are done every year in India. Many arthritis patients lead painful and compromised quality of life due to the psychological block that holds them from opting for surgery. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address the myths that are associated with knee surgery.”
- I am too young for this surgery
Not age but functionality is the criteria. Rheumatoid arthritis patients may need TKR at a young age, while Osteoarthritis patients will need it at an older age; say only after 55 years.
If the patient’s knees have limited their mobility and restricted their day to day activities like climbing stairs even if it is just 2 floors, then they are a right candidate for TKR.
- I should wait until I can’t walk
It’s a misconception. Infact, if a patient can’t walk for even a km or 2 and their X-ray shows significant damage/change, it is better to undergo surgery.
- If I go for TKR it will wear out in 10 years and I may require a second surgery
No, with scientific advancement the joint implants have evolved and last 20 to 25 years. Anybody above 55 years of age, going for TKR is unlikely to need a revision surgery in lifetime.
- There will be excruciating pain and I will not be able to return home soon after the surgery
Post a knee replacement surgery, patients require only 5 days of hospital stay. The pain is generally not unbearable and is managed with medication.
- My whole knee will be replaced
No, only the rubbing surfaces in the knee joint, that is the lower surface of the thigh bone and upper surface of leg bone, called cartilage and the inner surface of knee cap are replaced.
- TKR means my exercising and sporting days are over
One can exercise, cycle and even go for long walks post knee surgery.