Orthopaedics Q&A: How safe is knee replacement surgery?

Dr. Sreedhar Archik has an M.Sc. in Orthopaedics from Oxford University. He practises at Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai and specialises in joint replacement surgeries using computer navigation system. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every fortnight.

This week’s answers:

1. Dear Dr. Sreedhar, I am HLA-B27 + suffering from AS for the past 8 years. Apart from my back pain, recently, I have developed new complication in both feet and ancle pain, redness as well as itching.
My left side brain (above left ear) also feel something crawling kind of sensation. I am in supervision by DR. Ashok kumar – FORTIS vasantkunj for the past one year. He said that you have neuropathy due
to SAZO. He stopped SAZO which was my main medicine and advised me Gabapin 300 BD and Neucoxia 120 to cater back pain. My condition is not improving much. I want your suggestion reg. wheather should I start biological drugs like Remicade-120 as advised by Dr. Ashok kumar
or not. Pls advise me.
Thanking you.

Ravi Shekhar

I think you are under a good doctor and if he feels you need then you can take drugs like Remicaide as it has its own set of problems and should be taken under supervision.

2. Hello Dr.Archik, My mother in law aged 74, has acute pain in her knees while getting up from a seated to a standing position and also uses a stick while walking. She takes time to stand as she is not confident of moving immediately after getting in a standing position. She has been having arthritis for few yrs now. Sir, I hv a few queries :
a. Is knee replacement a sure shot permanent solution for relief? How much percent?
b. What is the approximate recovery time?
c. For someone who weighs 80kgs at 74, what do u think wud be its success rate? Hv there been any instances of failures as well?
d. Incase u advise operation for the same, what is the pre – hospitalization and post operative requirements (eg. nos of days after operation in hospital, follow up for removal of suture, physiotherapy, etc)
e.Is it true that after operation, the patient undergoes a lot of pain first few weeks?
f.How soon after surgery will the patient will be able to walk and move independently?

Thanking you in advance for your patience, valuable time and advice.

Hv a great day!
Maria F

Knee replacement is a game changer; it is one of the most successful surgeries in the world across all specialities.
Remember knee replacements are done only in elderly patients so the average age is 68 years anyway. *) kg I would not worry about because it is not morbid obesity. The failure rates of knee replacement in good centres are 2% world over.
For a single knee the patient stays in the hospital for 4 days and for both knees in one go 5 days.
Due to recent advances these surgeries are virtually “painless” if done at large well equipped centres having a “pain service”.
Patients walk on the 2nd post-operative day in all instances and is independent from day 3.

3. Dear Sir, I am getting pain in my knee, and sometimes when I sleep my calf mussle getting tight for 30 to 40 second and that time i cannot breath.
Please advice

Edward Fernandes
Try taking tab evion LC twice a day for 15 days as the commonest issue is vitamin E deficieny. If this does not help see a doctor for evaluation and advise.

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