I think I need a knee replacement. What is the process?
Dr. Muzzonigro says: First, make sure you have recently seen your friendly orthopedic surgeon to confirm you have arthritis and have failed all reasonable conservative measures, such as exercising, weight loss, physical therapy, injection therapy or using a brace or cane. Then, check with your medical doctor to make sure you are a good, healthy candidate for knee replacement surgery.
You should then ask your orthopedic surgeon if he or she thinks you are a good surgical candidate. Your surgeon will talk to you about the surgery, expectations for your rehabilitation and recovery, discuss other treatment options, and tell you the risks and benefits of the surgery. Next, you will be asked to provide informed consent by which we agree to perform your knee replacement surgery and you consent to proceed with surgery.
Typically, we will check your labs and possibly order a chest X-ray, EKG and urinalysis. You will then see your PCP and other treating specialists to obtain preoperative clearance. You will also be given the opportunity to attend a hospital ‘joint camp’ to learn more about the surgery process and follow-up care.
Feel free to ask questions at any stop along the way, as it truly is a process. Good luck!
Thomas S. Muzzonigro, MD, is a joint replacement surgeon at Tri Rivers. He treats hip and knee arthritis and performs total knee replacement; arthroscopic knee surgery, including ACL reconstruction; total hip replacement; and injection therapy for arthritic conditions.