Neighbors Helping Neighbors


Partial Knee Replacement Recovery and Complications

Written by Knees and Hips on May 30, 2014

The repair of a knee joint to relieve one of the pain and immobility caused by arthritis or degeneration after an injury is now a fairly routine matter. Many full or partial knee replacements are performed weekly and the overwhelming majority of these are successful, will last for a further 20 years or so and enable the patient to be active, walk normally and live without pain.

The Words “Fairly Routine” does not mean that this is minor surgery or without dangers and complications. The knee is the part of the major load bearing partof the body and, because it is constantly in motion. Arthritis and its complications is a fairly common complaint with people as they advance in years. In addition many sports injuries one incurs as a young person are prone to causing knee problems later in life, especially if the haven’t been allowed to recover properly after the injury itself.

So the surgery is actually a major event and there are a number of precautions that are usually taken before the surgery and of course a lot of physical therapy, exercises and warnings to be adhered to in the post operation recovery period.

Whether the operation is for a full or partial knee replacement the surgery is unlikely to take place if the patient is obese. The reasons for that are fairly obvious as the extra weight carried by the patient puts extra stress on the knees and the recovery is likely to be compromised. Furthermore high blood pressure and diabetes are also dangers as the anesthetic can cause deep vein Thrombosis or excessive bleeding in the joint. There is always a danger of bone marrow getting into the blood stream which can get to the lungs and cause severe breathing difficulties.

Candidates for knee replacement one needs to have lost most of the excess weight and be in fairly good health with no impending heart problems and if diabetic the blood sugars well managed.

A partial knee replacement is often carried out under local anesthetic and the patient is encouraged to start putting weight on the leg the same day. There has however been same fairly drastic intervention in the joint with certain elements removed and possibly scraped and then other parts replaced.

Thus the patient will need assistance to actually bear most of the weight while walking. A walker or support crutches usually suffices.

The next part of the recovery will require intensive physical therapy as it is essential that the patient exercises the muscles and rebuilds the strength in the knees which might well have been lost.

Physical therapy and walking exercises gradually reducing the external support to first two sticks and eventually no sticks at all as after 6 weeks one will find one able to walk for reasonable distances normally.

There will be some restrictions on movements. One should avoid twisting or trying to do anything too strenuous. No running or cycling or any similar type of activity where there is a danger of you falling. In addition you should sit on a straight backed chair and avoid climbing stairs for a period time.

After 6 moths one should be almost back to normal with some restrictions on sports activities.