Prosthetic treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee

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The knee consists of the lower part of the thigh bone ( femur ), the upper part of the bone on the front of the leg ( tibia ), and a small round bone (the patella ) . At the level of this articulation the bone surfaces are covered with a flexible coating (the cartilage ) responsible for facilitating their sliding. However, the latter is very damaged ( osteoarthritis ).

Depending on the shape of your leg, cartilage wear particularly affects certain parts ( compartments ) of your knee. The bone is found gradually uncovered and deformed, resulting in friction during movement. The joint becomes more and more stiff and painful. The situation can get worse to the point of preventing you from walking, or causing problems in the back, hip …

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That’s why your doctor offers you an operation. This involves removing part or all of the joint and replacing it with artificial material of the same shape ( prosthesis ). If you sleep completely ( general anesthesia ), or you put the whole bottom of your body to sleep or simply your leg ( locoregional anesthesia ).

The surgeon cuts the worn and deformed areas and replaces them with metal or plastic parts that he fixes with or without cement. Depending on the state of your joint, it only replaces one part ( unicompartmental prosthesis ) or the whole ( total prosthesis ). The intervention lasts between an hour and a half and three hours. You stay in hospital for about ten days. You are taking a treatment to prevent the formation of blood clots ( clots ) in the veins of the legs ( phlebitis ). To limit the risk of infection, it is checked that you have no disease before, during and after the operation. The pain depends on the degree of deformity of the knee before the operation. There are treatments to relieve you. It is normal to feel pain the first time you get up and start walking again. But the pain associated with osteoarthritis has disappeared. The prosthesis works immediately, however the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint must adapt. Hence the importance of rehabilitation, which generally starts the next day and lasts three to six months. It is better to live a calm life for two to three months, gradually resuming your activities. In the end, the benefit of the intervention is often spectacular. But we must avoid violent sports and forced labor.

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