A knee prosthesis surgery. Why?
The bones of the lower limb, femur, tibia, and fibula are joined by the knee joint. To allow the bones to move, the articular surface is covered with cartilage. The meniscus allow the movements of the joint itself, which is supported by ligaments and the so-called articular capsule that surrounds it.
Prostheses are reproductions of the bones in the knee area, made of metal, resins or ceramic materials, which are placed in the place of the joint.
Why a prosthesis?
The replacement of the knee bones and the placement of a prosthesis is indicated when the degree of deterioration of the joint and the pain it produces prevent the patient from walking, until it becomes incapacitating.
The most frequent cause of joint injuries is osteoarthritis, a rheumatic disease of the joints that produces inflammation and progressively deteriorates the joint surface. Also repeated injuries in the joint such as in elite sportsmen or certain work activities that involve repeated trauma to a joint.
Inflammation of the joint, as well as the rubbing of joint surfaces altered by arthritis, are very painful and prevent movement.
Treatment with anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, infiltrations in phases of acute pain, as well as maintaining an adequate body weight, are the therapeutic measures that are used before resorting to surgery. When joint injuries are significant and pain incapacitates daily activity, joint replacement and the placement of a prosthesis may be indicated.
How's that surgery?
The surgical intervention is performed under general or epidural anesthesia, making an incision in the knee to cut and partially remove the bones (femur, tibia and fibula) in the area near the knee, and replacing them with the prosthesis. The type of prosthesis to be used depends on the patient, their age and the state of their bones.
The operation usually lasts about an hour, and very often requires subsequent blood transfusion, as the section of the bones can lead to significant blood loss. After the operation, a drainage tube is maintained to allow the removal of blood residues that occur on the surfaces of the severed bones and which must be monitored to control the degree of bleeding.
Dr. Leopoldo Maizo - Orthopedic Surgeon
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