A Step By Step Look at The Procedure for Bilateral Total Knee Replacement

February 2nd, 2015

 If you have been suffering from severe pain and stiffness in both of your knees because of arthritis, your doctor may recommend that you undergo bilateral knee replacement. The operation is both a safe and a highly successful treatment. The knee specialists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can help you to prepare by explaining the typical procedure for bilateral total knee replacement.   

Before beginning any treatment for the pain in your knees, it is important to begin with a diagnosis. Talking with an orthopaedic specialist about your current symptoms as well as your medical history can help you both to understand the source of your knee pain as well as the best possible solution. 
In many cases, severe arthritis is the cause for this ongoing, debilitating joint pain. This condition involves the wearing away of the protective cartilage which typically cushions the knee joint. Without this layer, bone rubs against bone with each movement, which can become extremely painful. If left untreated, knee arthritis can severely limit your ability to perform daily tasks, especially weight-bearing activities such as standing and walking. 
If more conservative approaches have been ineffective to treat this condition, your doctor may recommend bilateral total knee replacement. 
When preparing for the procedure for bilateral total knee replacement, it is important to begin by sharing all relevant medical history and current conditions with your doctor. These conversations can help you and your doctor decide whether to perform the knee replacements simultaneously, or to stage the bilateral replacement, with several months in between. Finally, before your procedure, it is important to focus on optimizing your health by eating well and exercising as you are able. Entering into any surgical procedure with good health puts you at a great advantage for a smooth recovery. 
The Procedure
Whether it is simultaneous or staged, the procedure for bilateral total knee replacement follows the same pattern for each knee. The surface of the joint is removed and the arthritic ends of the bones are shaved off. These ends are then replaced with metal and plastic prostheses. These artificial elements are able to recreate the normal function of the knee without the pain of bones rubbing together.  
After you undergo the procedure for bilateral total knee replacement, you will have a period of recovery which will last for several weeks. After initial rest, you will participate in physical therapy to further regain strength and mobility. Throughout your rehabilitation, you will need a walker or crutches to assist with walking. Each patient’s journey through recovery may differ slightly, though, so it is important to talk with your doctor about the specifics of your experience. 
For more information about bilateral total knee replacement, contact the knee specialists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute today. 
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