Knee replacement or knee arthroplasty is a surgical procedure which replaces the bearing surfaces of the knee joint to ease the pain and disability. This surgery is performed for osteoarthritis and also for other knee diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
The common symptoms of the illness are the problem in walking, or climbing stairs, and pain in knee or rest. However, after the knee replacement surgery the patient goes back to his normal life where he can do all challenging activities his own.
Knee replacement surgery has become quite common and more affordable in the last few years. It’s now considered as a safe option for people with severe osteoarthritis of the knee joint. This has proved to be a boon for patients who have end stage arthritis of the knee. The hospitals in India conduct 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh knee replacement surgeries every year.
When does one need knee replacement?
A surgery is required only when the damage is in the last stage or “when the bones are touching each other”, with degeneration and wear and tear having destroyed the cartilage between the bones altogether. In all other cases it’s best to try and preserve the natural joint.
Success Rate of Knee Replacement Surgery in India
Hospitals providing knee replacement surgery in India and the surgeons performing it have a very high success rate. Approximately 95 percent of patients get free from the pain with knee replacement surgeries. The knee replacement surgery is carried out by replacing the damaged knee joint by an artificial joint which is known as prosthesis. There are metal, plastic and ceramic implants available and the best knee replacement surgeons in India are mostly using ceramic implants. In the knee replacement surgery, the above said implant is cemented to thigh bone, kneecap and shin bone with special screws.
Types of Knee Replacement
There are primarily four major types of knee replacement surgery commonly performed by most of the knee replacement surgeons in India. The details of the four are as follow:
1- Total knee replacement surgery:
It is the surgical procedure of replacement of joint surface at end of patients’ thigh bone or on the top of shinbone. Sometimes, it is needed to replace under-surface of kneecap as well.
2- Partial Knee Replacement Surgery
If osteoarthritis has affected only parts of knee, mostly inner side, then partial knee replacement is done.
3- Kneecap replacement surgery
That is also known as patellofemoral arthroplasty: It is the surgical procedure of the replacement of kneecap and its groove.
4- Revision or complex knee replacement surgery:
This is mainly second or third time replacement surgery after the first time surgery fails due to any of reasons.
Unilateral and Bilateral in Knee Surgery
If the need for knee replacement surgery is for only one knee, then it is called unilateral knee replacement surgery. At the same time, if surgery needs for both, then it is called as bilateral knee replacement surgery.
Cost of Knee Replacement
The cost of Knee replacement surgery in India is affordable and reasonable as compared to the costs in developed and other developing countries in the world including USA, Singapore, and UK. While approximate cost in USA is 30,000 USD. The cost of Unilateral Knee replacement surgery in India is around 4000 USD to 6000 USD. However, it is 5 times lesser than Knee replacement surgery cost in USA. Moreover the patient gets quality treatment with saving approximately 70 percent of his money even after calculating travel and other expenses. This is the reason foreign patients in large number travel for their knee replacement surgery in India and they get very satisfactory treatment. In India, the average knee replacement cost was ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2.3 lakh.
Since the government placed a cap on knee implant prices the knee replacement surgery cost has reduced drastically and the procedure has become more affordable now.
The following table highlights the average cost of knee replacement surgery in some of the top medical tourism destinations in the world:
Why India for Total Knee Replacement
India has become the most preferred medical destination for Total Knee Replacement. The reason behind this paradigm shift is the presence of hi end medical infrastructure abreast with state-of-art technologies which is virtually equivalent to those in USA, UK and Europe. India has some of the best orthopedic hospitals and treatment centers in the world and some truly superior facilities, with almost zero patients wait list. Hospitals adhere to international standards of clinical care, safe environment, medication safety, respect for rights and privacy, international infection control standards.
The panel of Indian orthopedic surgeons is highly qualified, having the experience of thousands of Total Knee Replacement surgeries – They are trained and worked in some of the prestigious medical centres in England, USA & Europe. They have a good success rate and are world renowned medical professionals known to cater service both India and abroad. You can find more information about orthopedic surgeons specializing in knee replacement surgery, the best hospitals in India offering this surgery and cost related information on ClinicSpots, which is a health portal catering to medical tourism.
When is Knee Replacement Surgery Not Recommended?
Knee replacement is not for everyone. For example, knee replacement may not be recommended if the person has a:
- Systemic infection or is prone to infection. Infection is considered a serious post-surgical risk; infections can necessitate a revision knee replacement surgery, and in some cases can be life-threatening.
- Significant problem affecting the muscles or soft tissues surrounding the knee, such as a neuromuscular disorder. The surrounding muscles and soft tissues are essential to knee function and the success of the knee replacement.
- Medical condition that may interfere with safely administering anesthesia. The risks associated with anesthesia can be life-threatening.
- Skin condition, such as psoriasis, at the area to be operated on. Skin problems can affect successful healing and increase the likelihood of infection.
- Pain associated with arthritis that does not severely limit activities of daily living and/or negatively impact quality of life on a daily basis.
Stay in Hospital and Post Care
Generally the hospital stay for Knee replacement surgery is approximately 6 days for the surgical process, and in which 1-2 days will be in ICU and 4 days admitted for further observation.
Physical Therapy after Knee Replacement Surgery
Outpatient physical therapy is typically prescribed after discharge and will usually begin within a week of surgery. A physical therapist will teach the patient:
- Knee strengthening exercises
- Knee exercises to encourage range of motion and reduce scar tissue
- How to use assistive walking devices, such as a walker and cane
Most patients are able to care for themselves and resume normal daily activities within 6 weeks. It may take 4 to 6 months or up to an entire year to fully recover and realize total benefits of knee replacement surgery.
Alternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery
- Specialized Braces
- Cartilage Transplantation
- Uni-compartmental arthroplasty
- Arthrodesis or Knee Fusion
Major risks after Knee Replacement Surgery
Some of the most common risks following knee replacement surgery are:
Things to remember for Long term Care
People are advised to:
- Keep up with their physical therapy exercises to maintain strong muscles around the knee, which will support the artificial joint.
- Try to avoid infections. Infectious bacteria enter the body though a cut or wound, major dental procedure (e.g. root canal), or other surgical procedures and eventually reach the artificial knee. An infected artificial knee may require an operation.
- Follow up with the surgeon regularly. Patients are typically asked to follow up with their orthopedist every year or two to check on the artificial knee. These appointments can help detect problems with the artificial knee before the patient notices symptoms.
Factors to consider while choosing the Doctor
- Is board certified in orthopedic surgery and who specializes in knee replacements
- Has experience treating patients with your specific condition, such as knee arthritis
- Practices at a hospital with high-quality outcomes in knee replacement or orthopedic surgery in general
- Accepts your insurance
- You are comfortable talking with and who fully answers your questions