Geriatric Knee surgery – Factors to understand

Here are some answers to common questions on knee surgery.

Is a knee replacement surgery safe in the elderly?

There is a common idea that post-surgery rehabilitation is more comfortable when one is younger. While this may be true, research has indicated that many older adults, although they have to undergo a painful and prolonged drawn process of joint mobilization and rehabilitation post a knee replacement surgery, do report significant long-term benefits to their overall quality of life and hence, state of mind as well.

As far as safety goes, knee surgeries are safe for most individuals unless there are other non-surgery related complications or pre-existing health issues that may aggravate when in hospital. Really serious knee surgery related complications occur in less than 2% of the people undergoing knee surgery.

What is the ideal age limit to undergo knee replacement surgery?

Currently, the artificial knees designed with state of the art medical technology are expected to function well for about 15 to 20 years, depending on the weight of the person and also the kind of activities done. Those above 65 are suitable candidates for knee replacement surgery. However, there is no fixed upper or lower age limit. Usually, the surgeon’s recommendations for or against knee surgery are likely to be based on the level of pain and joint damage experienced by the individual rather than the age.

Can diabetics and hypertensive safely undergo knee surgery?

Any surgery done under partial or full anesthesia necessary require specific precautions to be taken, more so when there are pre-existing conditions such as hypertension or diabetes. However as long as there are careful monitoring and management of sugar levels and/or blood pressure by a competent physician before, during and after the surgery, wound healing and recovery should progress normally.

What is the recovery time frame?

Most people should be able to walk without crutches or a walking frame in 6 to 8 weeks post knee surgery. However, complete functionality of knee joint and total reduction of swelling may take anywhere between ten months to one year, provided all prescribed rehabilitative exercises are adhered to.

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