Your questions on prosthetic knee surgery
The hospital stay is 2 to 3 days, but the operation is increasingly performed on an outpatient basis for total prostheses and almost systematically for unicompartmental prostheses. In this case, care is organized as soon as you return home at 6 p.m. with a nursing follow-up managed by specialized companies, which ensures better safety for the patient.
Anesthesia of the lower limb’s nerve trunks will be induced prior to surgery under ultrasound control. A crural catheter will also be placed to ensure postoperative analgesia. This local anesthesia will be additional to a light general anesthesia during the surgical procedure.
Returning home is possible, provided the patient’s family can take care of him. Otherwise, it is better to stay in a rehabilitation center for a few weeks.
Blood transfusions can be avoided with the use of a Cell Saver during surgery. Also, for patients with low hemoglobin levels, erythropoietin (EPO) may be administered before the procedure.
A month after surgery, most patients can start walking without crutches and drive their cars. Rehabilitation should continue for 2 to 3 months. Resumption of recreational sports like biking, playing tennis, or skiing is possible.
During the procedure, in cases of significant osteoporosis or bone fracture, we might have to install a prosthesis with longer anchoring skittles or osteosynthesis equipment. Vascular or nervous injuries may occur and require proper treatment. These complications remain uncommon, especially when the surgical team is very experienced in this type of procedure.
After surgery, power Doppler ultrasonography will be used to check for phlebitis if it is suspected during the clinical examination. Urine retention may occur (especially to male patients) due to the local anesthesia, and could require catheterization. An infection may occur days after surgery. This complication is very uncommon.
Later on, algodystrophy may cause pain and stiffness or delay rehabilitation. This phenomenon usually decreases over the following months.
Prostheses usually last for 15 years.