physical therapy can tell if knee replacement is loosePatients can have a variety of symptoms if their knee replacement is loose, often including pain and mobility issues.

What is knee replacement surgery?

Total knee replacement surgery

is a procedure that involves the replacement of the natural joint with an artificial implant. The first knee replacement surgery was performed in 1968 and now there are over 600,000 knee replacement surgeries performed each year.

Individuals may need knee replacement surgery, also known as total knee arthroplasty, if their joint is damaged by arthritis and injury. In some cases, these conditions can be treated with medications and walking supports. However, other cases may require knee replacement surgery to return patients to their normal activities without pain.

Although joint replacement may sound terrifying, knee replacement is actually a fairly simple four-step surgical implant process, according to OrthoInfo. The surgeon will prepare the bone by removing damaged surfaces and getting them ready for the implant components. Then, the components will be mounted to the bone with specialized “press fit” or with specialized surgical cement. The undersurface of the patella will then need to be resurfaced and fitted with a plastic button to articulate with the implant surfaces. Last, an insert will be placed between the components to create a smooth surface that helps the joint move.

How Long Should My Knee Replacement Last?

If you’re getting a knee replacement, there’s no doubt you want to know how long this might support you before you need other help with your knee or before you get it replaced.

Some patients have been caught off guard by knee replacements that failed too early, making it hard for them to cope with the side effects after a surgery. Going through any surgery poses risks for the patient, so it’s important for each person to sit down with their doctor and discuss how long a knee replacement should last before getting the surgery.

There are numerous different factors that influence the total life of your knee replacement, but most patients expect that they will get at least several years of regular wear out of their device before there are any problems.

According to Versus Arthritis, for most people who go through the surgery to get a knee replacement, this device should last up to 20 years. If you begin to notice side effects and are having problems with mobility well before that, it’s possible that your knee replacement is failing or defective. You might have to have the entire device taken out of your body.

Taking the risk to go through surgery for a knee replacement means you need to think carefully about all the possible advantages. Talking with your doctor can help you figure out if the brand of knee replacement in consideration has been associated with a shorter life span or other problems in previous patients.

Why do knee implants fail or loosen?

A variety of complications can lead to the loosening or failure of an implant.

Aseptic loosening is the phenomenon of a loosened knee implant without an infection. This condition may be caused by failure of bone cement used during surgery. If bone cement fails, the components cannot be held securely in the joint.

Although knee replacement implants are designed to last for decades, they are not permanent. The older an implant is, the more likely it is that loosening or failure will occur. And there is always a risk for implant failure from faulty components.

How do I know if my knee replacement is loose?

A loosened knee replacement will need to be diagnosed by a doctor. They may use imaging tests to confirm the state of the joint. However, patients can monitor for concerning symptoms if they believe their implant is loosening. Symptoms of a loosened or failing knee replacement may be:

  • Pain ranging from mild to severe
  • Infection symptoms (fever, chills, muscle ache, etc.)
  • Problems with mobility
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Excess fluid around the knee
  • Thickened joint tissue
  • Joint instability
  • Tangible warmth and visible wellness around the joint
  • Bone destruction

Do I need revision surgery if my knee replacement is loose?

In some cases, according to the Hospital for Specialty Surgery, your doctor may recommend that you undergo revision knee surgery to help resolve issues with a knee implant. During revision surgery, the failed implant is removed and replaced with a new implant.

Revision surgery can be difficult because a failed knee implant can damage the bone and tissue around a replaced joint. These circumstances may require extensive planning, additional care during surgery, and preventative measures including the grafting of new bone and the use of specialized tools.

Because of the high potential for localized trauma during implant failure and revision surgery, recovery may be difficult on patients’ bodies. Additionally, these individuals may be at a higher risk for future knee implant failure.

If you or a loved one underwent revision knee replacement surgery or your doctor is recommending revision surgery three years or less after the initial implant and a bone cement was used, you may qualify to file a knee replacement revision surgery lawsuit. See if you qualify by filling out the free form on this page.

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