The key to a successful knee replacement is a proper and full recovery process. Around 95% of patients who undergo knee replacement surgery in the United States experience favorable long-term outcomes, but that means 5% of the estimated 600,000 total knee replacements require revision surgery in the first 10 years.
You can’t go to just any orthopedist for revision surgery, because this is a special type of operation that warrants the ability to perform a correction to a prior surgery. The orthopedic surgeon must be able to create a successful new knee joint, one that works better than the previous prosthetic knee did.
Due to possible accumulated trauma and scar tissue that may have developed since the initial procedure, a knee revision will require additional preoperative planning, specialized tools, and – more importantly – an experienced knee replacement revision specialist who knows what they’re doing. Let’s talk about why you would want to see a surgeon who specializes in knee revision surgery, and where you can go in Boynton Beach and Palm Beach County to get your knee back to working as good as new.
Why Would I Need a Knee Implant Revision?
After having a knee replacement, various factors can put some patients at a greater likelihood of needing revision surgery, such as:
Recent data show that only 4.5% of people who are under the age of 65 experience complications following a knee replacement procedure. However, patients who were relatively young at the time of their initial knee replacement may wear out their implant, thereby having a higher likelihood of needing to undergo a knee replacement revision.
Having a heavier body weight increases your chances of necessitating a knee replacement revision in the future. Naturally, the increased force of a person’s weight pounding on the knee with every step makes overweight people more prone to loosening their prosthetic knee joint.
Active patients actually have a higher rate of needing revision surgery than do more sedentary patients because of the greater pressure and stress placed on the knee joint.
Patients who have had a different type of knee surgery in the past – such as to repair a sports injury – are at a higher risk of developing infection and implant failure in the knee. This warrants revision surgery in the knee.
How Would I Know My Knee Replacement Needs Revision Surgery?
The most common symptom of a knee implant failure is increasing or chronic knee pain. This usually occurs within six months after the initial procedure.
The other symptoms (both short- and long-term) that indicate the need to visit a knee replacement revision specialist include the following:
Loosening of the knee joint is among the most common complications after knee replacement surgery. This can be caused by faulty design, product defects, wear-and-tear on implant parts, high-impact activities, or deterioration of the bone around the implant.
For implant loosening and wear, your orthopedic doctor will likely recommend revision surgery.
Instability happens when the natural tissues and structures supporting the knee are unable to work well together with the prosthetic materials. This can cause further injuries, such as fractures and dislocations.
To address instability, your knee replacement revision specialist may first recommend nonsurgical means, such as knee braces and physical therapy, before recommending a revision procedure.
Infections can be caused by bacteria living on the implant itself, or bacteria entering the surgical wound during surgery. Infections can cause damage to the muscle and/or bone and thereby the weakening of the knee implant.
Revision for the knee infection can be done in one of two ways: washing out the bacteria (implant retention), or through a staged surgery (complete removal and replacement of the implant). Your specialist’s recommended course of action will depend on the type and degree of the infection.
Arthrofibrosis, or the abnormal formation of scar tissue around the knee joint, can trigger stiffness and limited range of motion of the knee replacement.
To address stiffness, your orthopedic doctor may try manipulation under anesthesia, where the doctor bends your knee in an attempt to break up the internal scar tissue. However, if your knee remains stiff and your range of motion is still restricted due to extensive scar tissue, revision surgery may be necessary.
This can occur when the metal in the knee implant triggers an allergic reaction or autoimmune response in the patient’s body.
Patients who experience implant rejection will likely need knee replacement revision surgery to remove and replace the prosthetic knee with new and different materials.
Knee Replacement Revision Specialists in Palm Beach County
If you are experiencing problems with your knee implants, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches will provide a thorough assessment of your knee to determine whether a knee revision is necessary. If you do need revision surgery, your orthopedic surgeon, along with your physical therapist, will take every precaution to reduce your risk of complications and to help you get back to leading a healthy and active life.
To set an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons, call us today at (561) 733-5888, or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!