- Pain and mobility limitations cannot be adequately controlled by other, “simpler” methods
- The arthritis is advanced enough that there is no potential for significant symptom improvement otherwise
- The patient accepts the risks of the operation
- The patient is willing to go through the “hassles” of the operation and the rehabilitation
In the early stages the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be minimal or not limiting. There is no need to consider a knee replacement only because there is arthritis. The surgery is required when the less invasive treatments cannot adequately control the pain significantly impairing one’s day-to-day functioning. Since pain is subjective and cannot be “measured” by any objective method, the patient has to confirm that the pain is severe enough to warrant surgery. The surgeon has to confirm that the arthritis is severe enough that symptom improvement with other methods is unlikely.
Total knee replacement is a big operation, and even though has become a routine operation in most hospitals, severe and even lethal complications can and do occur. Anybody who considers having a knee replacement has to accept those risks.
The recovery after the knee replacement typically takes about 6 months, although in some patient the improvement process can take up to 24 months. Regularly scheduled rehabilitation program is needed after the surgery and typically it is done under supervision of an experienced physiotherapist; there is usually cost associated with physiotherapy services.