Does a Knee replacement surgery work in the long term?

Patients planning to undergo a knee replacement surgery have a few basic doubts about the procedure, key among them being – Does a knee replacement surgery work well in the long term?

This is because the knee replacement surgery cost in Mumbai can range between 1.5 lac to 3.5 lac rupees, a sizeable amount for an average Indian household. Therefore, anyone who is planning to Book Surgery Packages online would first like to know their long-term prognosis.

The primary goal of a knee replacement surgery is to ensure that the patient is able to attain certain basic goals within a few weeks of the surgery;

  • Getting in and out of beds, toilets and chairs without assistance and support.
  • Being able to walk and go up and down the stairs.
  • Being able to bend the knee up to at least 90 degrees.

By the end of three months, the goal is to be able to;

  • Be able to walk for longer periods of time and take part in low impact exercises and sports.
  • Be able to take part in activities that need knee flexion of up to 120 degrees.
  • Experience little or no pain while doing the above activities.

The expected life of a knee replacement implant is 15 to 20 years. To anyone who has been undergoing pain every day, the possibility of 15 years of a relatively pain-free existence makes the cost of surgery seem trivial. The success rate of a knee replacement is around 85%, with many seniors reporting functional replacements even after 20 years, prompting younger people with osteoarthritis to opt for this procedure.

The long-term outcome of the procedure is more complex and determined by many factors:

  • Knee pain is a very common complaint. Sixty-seventy percent of the patients for knee replacement are women. Knee replacement is considered by patients mostly in the age group of 50 to 80, with the average age being around 70. The success of the procedure depends on the continued activity levels of the senior citizen.
  • Improvement in the range of motion of the knees depends on the consistency and compliance of the patient during rehab efforts;
    • Patients who persisted with the exercises taught by a physiotherapist improved in a short time and were able to walk, take stairs and participate in a mild sporting activity. This improvement persisted for a long time – up to 20 years and above.
    • Patients who did not make the efforts, citing pain and discomfort, did not gain a similar range of motion in the knees.
    • Patients who did not pay heed to medical advice for diet, weight reduction, staying mobile and a continued exercise plan stayed pain-free, however, the mobility loss was not recovered in most cases.
  • Like any mechanical spare part, a knee replacement implant also experiences wear and tear. This happens more in the case of overweight people or those who take part in high impact activities where there is more stress on the joints.
  • Knee implants can come loose in cases a traumatic injury causes damage to the joint. Hence, people undergoing knee replacement surgery are advised to be careful and limit activities where there is a high chance of getting injured.
  • In some cases where postoperative physiotherapy is not done properly, stiffness and arthrofibrosis, a condition in which a scar tissue forms and limits motion of the knee joint sets in. In this case, the range of motion that a knee implant is capable of would not be achieved.

To summarise, a knee replacement surgery works well in cases where patients after paying the cost of knee replacement surgery in Mumbai, plan and execute a long-term exercise and rehab plan to achieve and maintain a normal lifestyle and healthy knee movement.