Knee arthritis can progress over time, and as symptoms worsen, you may find it difficult to get around like you used to. Nonsurgical treatments can help to manage symptoms, but if these treatments do not provide sufficient pain relief, knee replacement surgery may be an option.
At Orthopedic Specialty Clinic, we have four knee replacement surgeons with a combined 50+ years of orthopedic experience: Dr. Kurt Larson, Dr. Erik Krushinski, Dr. Eli Xhaferi and Dr. Timothy Neary. Dr. Kurt Larson and Dr. Eli Xhaferi are both fellowship trained in adult reconstruction, focused only in knee and hip replacement surgery. Dr. Larson is also fellowship trained in sports medicine and has performed thousands of knee replacements over the course of his career. Dr. Erik Krushinski and Dr. Eli Xhaferi each have over 10 years of experience in knee replacement surgery. Both Dr. Neary and Dr. Krushinski completed fellowship training in sports medicine and have a special interest in total knee replacement.
Our specialists evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis, and only recommend knee replacement surgery when they feel it is necessary to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Candidates for Knee Replacement Surgery
An orthopedic examination is necessary to determine whether or not a patient is a good candidate for knee replacement surgery. However, if you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may benefit from an evaluation:
- Pain and/or stiffness in the knee that is severe enough to limit your daily activities
- Difficulty walking longer than a few blocks
- Difficulty climbing stairs, bending down, or getting in and out of chairs
- Knee pain that persists even while resting
- Chronic knee inflammation that does not subside with rest and anti-inflammatory medications
- Knee deformity due to severe wear on the joint
- Chronic symptoms (like those described above) that do not improve with nonsurgical treatments like rest, medications, injections, and physical therapy
The goal of knee replacement is to reduce pain and improve function and range of motion in the knee so that the patient can participate in their normal activities.
Knee Replacement Procedures
A knee replacement procedure involves replacing the damaged portions of the knee joint with metal and plastic implants to allow for better joint function. Depending on the location of the arthritis damage in the knee, there are two different procedures available to help relieve pain and improve knee function. Our specialists evaluate each patient on an individual basis to recommend the procedure that best fits the patient’s needs.
Not all knee replacements are the same. Small variations in approach can lead to significant changes in outcome. Dr. Xhaferi specializes knee replacement without the use of a tourniquet (known as tourniquet-less knee replacement) which results in less muscle injury, potentially leading to less pain, and subsequently reduced opioid use and earlier recovery.
Partial Knee Replacement
There are three main sections, or compartments, of the knee: the medial compartment (inner section), the lateral compartment (outer section), and the patellofemoral compartment (the front section, between the kneecap and thighbone). If arthritis damage is limited to just one of these compartments, partial knee replacement may be an option.
With a partial knee replacement, only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced. This allows the healthy cartilage and bone in the knee to be preserved.
Total Knee Replacement
If arthritis affects more than one compartment of the knee, a total knee replacement will likely be needed to provide long-term pain relief and improved knee function. During a total knee replacement, the entire joint is replaced with metal implants, and a plastic spacer is inserted between the two metal implants to allow the joint to glide smoothly.
Though knee replacement surgery will not help you perform activities you were unable to do prior to developing arthritis, it does provide pain relief and functional improvement for the vast majority of patients.
Recovering from Knee Replacement
After knee replacement surgery, most patients stay overnight at the hospital and return home the following day. Before patients are cleared to go home, they must be able to complete certain tasks safely, including getting on and off the toilet, going up and down the stairs, and getting in and out of a car. We have a car simulator on-site to help patients work on getting in and out of vehicles while they recover.
Though there are risks associated with surgery, our team takes special precautions to minimize those risks as much as possible. To reduce the risk of blood clots, patients are typically given blood thinners, as well as early motion and compression devices. To reduce infection risks, the surgical site is washed with a sterile solution 4 times prior to surgery, and patients are given antibiotics as a preventative measure prior to surgery. We also screen patients for MRSA prior to surgery and administer pre-treatment if the test is positive. As a result of these measures, the infection rate is very low at our hospital.
Upon returning home, we recommend arranging someone to stay with you for at least the first few days. You will not be cleared to drive until you have regained the necessary strength and reaction time to safely operate a vehicle. You will likely also need assistance with other tasks at home in the initial recovery period. Your surgeon will advise on what tasks you can and cannot do on your own.
Physical therapy is also an important part of recovery from knee replacement surgery. Patients begin with at-home therapy for the first two weeks, then work with outpatient physical therapy for an additional 4-12 weeks. There are several factors that can affect how long it will take a patient to fully recover. Generally speaking, most patients are able to return to all normal activities within 3 months of surgery, and may continue to see improvement over the first year after surgery.
Knee Replacement Surgery in Fredericksburg, VA
Our joint replacement specialists, Dr. Kurt Larson, Dr. Erik Krushinski, Dr. Eli Xhaferi, and Dr. Timothy Neary, have over 50 years of combined experience with knee replacement surgery. All of our specialists are fellowship trained, and evaluate each patient individually to develop a treatment plan that best fits their needs. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists, please call our office at (540) 361-1830 or request an appointment online.