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Total Knee Replacement Surgery: Is This an Option I Should Consider?

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

When a knee starts hurting, it can cause a person’s overall health to decline. When it hurts too much to move, the risks of gaining weight rise. That means other potential issues can develop, ranging from heart disease development to type 2 diabetes.

A common treatment option for a painful knee is to replace it with a total knee arthroplasty.

It is entirely understandable that someone with chronic pain would want to experience quick and immediate relief. Although knee replacement surgery is an option, it isn’t the only one to consider.

What Are the Dangers of a Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

Although surgical techniques are better today, this medical procedure comes with certain risks that require consideration.

  • Blood clots can occur in leg veins or the lungs.

  • Infections during the recovery process can develop.

  • Heart attacks and strokes during or after surgery are possible.

  • Nerve damage can occur.

Knee replacement surgery involves the use of artificial parts. A second surgery is necessary to remove those items if an infection occurs, while antibiotics are required to kill the bacteria. After healing from those issues, a third surgery takes place to install the new joint.

As you can see, it is possible that a surgical carousel can happen for some patients.

There is also the risk that the artificial joint will eventually fail. Daily use wears down even the strongest components, especially if you participate in high-impact activities or carry excessive weight.

How Much Does Knee Replacement Surgery Cost?

Assuming that a patient experiences zero complications from their knee replacement surgery, the average cost of the procedure in the United States is over $31,000.

The average cost of Knee Replacement surgery in India is usually between ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2.3 lakh.

Where you live directly impacts how much you’ll pay for joint replacement surgery services. In Alabama, the cost is under $12,000, while NYC residents pay nearly $70,000.

In Dallas, a total knee replacement could cost between $16,000 and $62,000 based on the hospital where you have the procedure performed.

Health insurance policies cover knee replacement surgery procedures, but they often bundle a patient’s post-operative care and rehabilitation into the final expenses.

Instead of a total knee replacement (TKR), some doctors might recommend a partial knee replacement (PKR) instead. Those surgeries are about 10% to 20% less.

Recovery After Total Knee Replacement: TKR and PKR Expectations

One of the primary disadvantages of knee replacement surgery is the recovery time. Most people need to stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours after the procedure, although some patients are permitted to go home if it is safe to do so.

Others might require extra attention at the hospital, especially if there are concerns about the procedure or the person’s health.

It takes between four to six weeks for patients to recover to the point where they can start taking care of themselves once again. Outpatient physical therapy usually begins within a week of the procedure, using knee exercises to strengthen the joint and reduce scar tissue formation.

It can take between four to six months for a full recovery, with some people needing a year to realize the total benefits of this procedure.

How Physiotherapy Helps Patients Avoid Knee Surgery

Many patients put off a visit to the doctor because they believe their knee pain will eventually end with joint replacement surgery. The first line of defence for osteoarthritis, chronic discomfort, and other concerns is typically weight loss and exercise.

Physiotherapy works to strengthen the muscles that support the knee. When a patient has strong hamstrings and quadriceps (the muscle in front of the thigh), the joint receives less of the load transferred to it with each motion or impact.

Stretching after exercise is also essential. The muscles are more amenable to potential changes after bringing more blood flow to the area.

Many patients see muscle changes after about four to six weeks of daily exercise and ongoing physiotherapy techniques.

The reality of a patient’s knee pain is that they will be doing joint strengthening exercises whether they choose surgery or physiotherapy. When considering the cost and recovery time of a TKR or a PKR, it makes sense to select a non-invasive rehabilitative treatment option first.

When you choose physiotherapy over surgery, you won’t lose weeks or months of your life to healing. There are minimal infection risks, and the outcome can still be pain reduction or elimination.

Surgery should not be the first line of defence. Physiotherapy for knee pain is a cost-effective and practical way to treat your discomfort.


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