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Total Knee Replacement INR   0 INR  0
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Total Knee Replacement

Knee replacement is an operation that is performed principally to relieve pain from an arthritic knee. Although the range of motion of a knee may improve following surgery, this is not the primary aim of surgery and extra motion should be regarded as a bonus SURGERY Knee replacement involves replacing the bearing surfaces on the ends of the bones with a synthetic surface. This is usually metallic on the femur and plastic (high density polyethylene) with or without a metallic base plate on the tibia. The surface of the patella (knee cap) can also be replaced with high-density polyethylene. Components can be fixed to the bone using one of two techniques. One can either use bone cement or one can use components coated in such a way that bone grows onto and into their surface. Both methods of fixation have their advantages and disadvantages. A decision will be made regarding the most appropriate fixation for your particular situation. Depending on the nature of your arthritis, your knee may be suitable for a partial replacement rather than a total replacement. The knee can be thought of as having three compartments. There is a medial and a lateral compartment between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). The medial compartment is on the inside (left side of right knee) and the lateral compartment is on the outside (right side of right knee). The third compartment is between the patella (knee cap) and the femur. In a total knee replacement the medial and lateral compartments are replaced and the patella may be resurfaced as well. In a medial (or lateral) unicompartmental replacement only the medial (or lateral) compartment is replaced. Medial unicompartmental replacement is more common than lateral. Patellofemoral replacement involves resurfacing of only the patellofemoral compartment.In general the principles of partial and total knee replacement are similar but a partial replacement is a smaller operation and has a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. As a rule of thumb, total knee replacement involves a hospital stay of 3-6 nights (2-5 for partial replacements). In most instances patients are able to go directly home and inpatient rehabilitation is not usually required. Depending on your private health insurer, a physiotherapist may be able to visit you at home. When you are discharged you will be walking with the aid of walker support and will be independent in terms of showering and dressing. The main problem that patients face after a knee replacement is getting their movement back. Pain levels vary considerably from one individual to another, but most people find the period from 24 hours to 72 hours after surgery the most difficult. It is important to keep working at the exercises, particularly bending the knee. This applies both in hospital and after discharge. Pain may persist for 6-8 weeks following the procedure, particularly at night. PREADMISSION Prior to admission a number of steps are taken to reduce the risks of surgery. A number of routine investigations may be performed and these include blood tests, an electrocardiograph (ECG), and analysis of a urine specimen. You may be asked to attend a pre admission clinic at the hospital. The purpose of this clinic is to familiarise you with the planned surgery. If your knee X-ray is more than three months old a new X-ray may be taken, usually on admission to hospital. You should preferably stop taking anti-inflammatory tablets one week before your surgery in order to reduce bleeding during the operation. You can take your normal painkillers as well as low dose (100mg) Aspirin if you are on this for cardiovascular reasons. If you are on anticoagulant medication such as warfarin or clopidogrel, it is important that you notify the doctors as soon as possible as you will need to cease these prior to surgery. Similarly, if you have an artificial heart valve or another implant that requires antibiotic protection when surgery is being performed, you should also notify the office staff. ADMISSION Admission to hospital is usually on the day of surgery. Occasionally you will be admitted earlier than this depending on your general health status. ANAESTHESIA The surgery can be performed using a number of different types of anaesthesia. The anaesthetist will select the most appropriate type of anaesthetic for your situation. Usually a combination of spinal and general anaesthesia is used. A spinal anaesthetic involves an injection into the lower spine, which makes the body numb from the waist down. It wears off after a couple of hours. AFTER SURGERY Following surgery adequate provision is made for pain control. The anaesthetist and nursing staff will explain to you what is to be used in your situation prior to the operation. Physiotherapy will commence on the first day following surgery. You will usually get out of bed on the afternoon of surgery if you have surgery in the morning, or the next morning if you have surgery in the afternoon. Initially you will walk with a walking frame and later with crutches. The physiotherapist will guide you through the various phases of rehabilitation. Depending on your surgeon’s preference, you may spend some time each day with your knee on a CPM (continuous passive motion) machine, which slowly bends and straightens your knee. Usually you can be discharged directly home from hospital. The length of hospital admission varies considerably but is usually somewhere between 4-6 nights. You will not be discharged until you are safe to go home. This decision is usually made during your hospital admission. A follow up appointment will be made for you, usually 2-4 weeks after the operation. You will notice that your knee is warm and swollen for some time after surgery. This has usually settled significantly by three months from surgery, although the swelling may persist for a further few months. You will also notice that the skin on the lateral (outside) side of the incision will be numb. This is normal. The area of numbness usually decreases a little with time but there will always be some numbness of the skin in this area. However, it does not usually cause any problems. RISKS Knee replacement procedures are usually very successful. However, they are associated with some risks and although these are uncommon, they do need to be kept in mind in assessing whether this type of surgery is warranted. These risks include: WEAR AND LOOSENING With time, the bearing surfaces do have a tendency to wear. As a result small particles of debris are produced. The body’s reaction to these particles can cause loosening of the components, which in turn can cause a recurrence of pain. This may necessitate a second (revision) operation, which is usually a significantly more complicated procedure and generally does not lead to as good a result as a primary procedure. VENOUS THROMBOSIS This is a blood clot in the veins of the leg and occurs more frequently after knee replacement surgery than other types of surgery. Precautions are taken to reduce the risk and this may involve the administration of a daily injection of a blood-thinning agent (low molecular weight heparin). Additional measures may be taken if it is felt that you are at greater risk than the average person undergoing surgery. If a venous thrombosis does occur this will usually need to be treated with blood thinning injections followed by anticoagulant tablets (Warfarin), which would need to be continued for at least three months. A small but nonetheless important risk for venous thrombosis is the potential for the blood clot to break off and lodge in the lungs (pulmonary embolus). This can cause significant breathing problems and very rarely can be fatal. INFECTION Infection can occur after any operation. It is potentially more serious following joint replacement surgery, as it is more difficult to eradicate. This can mean that further surgery is required including the possibility of removal of both components for a period of two months during which antibiotics are given intravenously. If the infection has been eradicated, another knee replacement is then performed. Occasionally the knee may need to be permanently stiffened (arthrodesis). Precautions are taken to reduce the risk of infection including the administration of intravenous antibiotics around the time of surgery. STIFFNESS As mentioned earlier, the biggest challenge after a knee replacement is to regain knee movement, especially flexion (bending). Sometimes stiffness is a persistent problem and a manipulation under an anaesthetic is required. This involves coming back into hospital, usually for one or two nights. Occasionally the stiffness may be permanent and may cause difficulties with activities of daily living. Despite all of these potential problems, most patients are very happy with their procedure and recover quite quickly from surgery. However, it is important to remember that improvement occurs for up to 18 months after surgery.

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Osteotomy for Osteoarthritis of Knee INR   0 INR  0
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Osteotomy for Osteoarthritis of Knee

Osteoarthritis is essentially loss of the articular cartilage on the bone surfaces of a joint. Articular cartilage (also known as hyaline cartilage) is normally a very smooth surface with special biomechanical properties that make it particularly suitable as a bearing surface. However when the surface is disrupted, a process of breakdown commences and eventually the articular cartilage coating is worn off the bones. Unfortunately, articular cartilage has a poor capacity to heal. For treatment purposes, the knee joint can be considered to consist of three compartments. One compartment is between the patella and the femur (patellofemoral compartment), and the other two are between the tibia and femur. One is on the medial (inside) half of the knee, and the other is on the lateral (outside) half of the knee. If the osteoarthritic process is isolated to either the medial or lateral compartment, one surgical option for treating significant symptoms is an osteotomy. The principle of an osteotomy is to realign the lower limb in order to shift the line of weight bearing away from the affected half of the joint and into the good half of the joint. In other words, if the osteoarthritis is isolated to the medial compartment, the aim is to shift the line of weight bearing into the lateral compartment. The main aim of this realignment is to reduce the symptoms from the osteoarthritis and delay the need for joint replacement surgery. Realignment may also slow down the rate of its progression of the osteoarthritis. It is important to be aware that realigning the leg will result in an altered appearance of the shape of the leg. If people have medial compartment osteoarthritis, they are usually somewhat bow-legged and the osteotomy will make the leg slightly knock-kneed. The opposite applies for lateral compartment osteoarthritis. Prior to surgery the person is usually knock-kneed, but after surgery the leg is straight or slightly bow-legged. Osteotomies can be performed above or below the knee joint. For medial compartment osteoarthritis, osteotomies are most commonly performed by operating on the upper tibia. If the osteoarthritis is in the lateral compartment, the osteotomy is usually performed in the lower femur. The osteotomy procedure itself involves cutting the bone virtually completely. There are then two ways of realigning the bone. One is to take out a wedge of bone and the other is to make a cut and open up a wedge and fill it with either bone or a bone substitute. If bone is used it can either be allograft bone which is taken from a cadaver, or autograft bone which is taken from the patient, usually from the hip region. Some kind of metallic fixation device, usually a plate with screws, is then used to stabilise the osteotomy while it heals. In general there has been a trend moving away from so-called closing wedge osteotomies, where a wedge of bone is taken out, towards opening wedge osteotomies, where a cut is made and the wedge is opened. There are potential advantages and disadvantages of each technique and a decision regarding the most appropriate method will be based on your individual situation.The surgery is usually undertaken under spinal anaesthetic. You are usually admitted on the day of surgery. Most people are in hospital for 2 or 3 nights. After surgery there is usually a drain tube in the wound, which is removed the morning following surgery. Depending on your surgeon’s preference, a brace may or may not be fitted after surgery. Initially you will commence walking with the aid of crutches. You may be able to partially weight bear immediately or remain non-weight bearing for up to 6 weeks following the procedure, depending upon your surgeon’s preference. An X-ray will be taken at about 6 weeks after surgery and depending on how things are progressing, you should be able to gradually increase your weight bearing and discard your crutches over the next 2-6 weeks. COMPLICATIONS Like all surgery, osteotomies are associated with the risk of complications. The specific risks of an osteotomy include delayed healing of the osteotomy, infection, deep venous thrombosis, and incomplete pain relief. DELAYED OR NON-UNION Because a cut is made through the bone, there is effectively a fracture of the bone, which needs to heal. With opening wedge osteotomies in particular, this process can be relatively slow. If the osteotomy fails to heal, further surgery is necessary to encourage the process. INFECTION Infection is a risk of any surgery, not specifically related to osteotomy. Should infection occur, this will usually either be treated with oral antibiotics (tablets) or occasionally with intravenous antibiotics. Occasionally further surgery will be required to clean up the infection. This involves admission to hospital for a number of days during which intravenous antibiotics are given. DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT) This is a blood clot in the veins of the leg. Precautions are taken to reduce the risk and this usually involves the administration of a daily injection of a blood-thinning agent (low molecular weight heparin). Additional measures may be taken if it is felt that you are at greater risk than the average person undergoing surgery. If a venous thrombosis does occur this will usually need to be treated with anticoagulant tablets (Warfarin), which would need to be continued for at least three months. A small but nonetheless important risk for venous thrombosis is the potential of the blood clot to break off and lodge in the lungs (pulmonary embolus). This can cause significant breathing problems and very rarely can be fatal. ONGOING PAIN Osteotomy is a useful procedure for people with unicompartmental osteoarthritis who are not suitable for joint replacement, usually because of their relatively young age. However, the outcome of surgery is probably less predictable than a joint replacement. Although most patients are happy with the result, pain relief is not always complete. In the longer term the underlying osteoarthritis will progress and one can expect knee pain to return. In addition, surgery around the front of the knee is often associated with difficulty kneeling. This is more of a problem with tibial osteotomies than with femoral osteotomies. The metallic plate that is used to fix the osteotomy can be prominent, particularly in thin people. If this is the case the metallic hardware can be removed after about 12 months following surgery. This is usually done as a day or overnight case. Sometimes the metallic hardware is removed routinely after 12 months, although this is at the discretion of your surgeon. However, if a knee replacement is planned the hardware will need to be removed prior to this procedure.

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Arthroscopic ACL Reconstruction. INR   0 INR  0
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Arthroscopic ACL Reconstruction.

The term knee reconstruction is commonly used to refer to reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).This ligament is in the middle of the knee and controls the movement of the two main bones of the knee, the tibia and femur (Fig.1). It is particularly important for twisting and turning movements that occur in football, netball, basketball and snow skiing. Rupture (tearing) of the ACL can therefore lead to instability. This is felt as giving way with certain activities, usually those that involve a sudden change in direction. When giving way occurs, there is a risk of damage to the cartilages (menisci) and this in turn puts the knee at risk of developing premature osteoarthritis. Although it is an aim of reconstructive surgery, it is unclear whether anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction actually reduces the risk of developing osteoarthritis. The main reason for reconstructing the ACL is to stop or to prevent instability. In many situations this instability can be predicted soon after the injury occurs and a decision made to operate without waiting for the instability to develop. However, in other cases it may be less clear and people may choose to rehabilitate their knee and try to return to their normal activities without surgery. Whether they can get back to their normal activities without surgery depends on many factors – how much healing of the torn ACL takes place, other injuries to the knee, the intrinsic stability of the knee, rehabilitation, and the individual’s ability to modify their activities. It is important to remember that ACL reconstruction is almost always an elective procedure. From a medical point of view, there is no rush to make a decision, provided the knee is not giving way.If ACL reconstruction is to be performed, it is essential to prepare the knee for surgery. The key is to get back full extension (straightening) of the knee. Although it may feel that there is something in the front of the knee that is blocking full extension, this is rarely the case, particularly after the initial injury. A key component is to reduce swelling by regular icing and wearing a compression bandage or sleeve. Having the heel supported on a rolled towel and using the quadriceps muscle at the front of the thigh to lock the knee out straight is the key exercise (Fig.2). Flexion (bending) is also important and riding an exercise bike will help this, together with strengthening the quadriceps muscle. SURGERY The technique for reconstruction involves taking a piece of tendon (usually from the same knee, but sometimes from the other knee) and using this to replace the torn ligament (Fig.3). The tendon graft is usually taken from the hamstrings on the inside of the thigh or from the patellar tendon at the front of the knee. It can also be taken from the quadriceps tendon, just above the patella (kneecap). Occasionally allografts are used. These are tendon grafts taken from cadavers (people who have died). In recent years there has been increased interest and media coverage of synthetic grafts, specifically the LARS device. The role of the LARS remains unclear, but there are concerns because of problems seen when synthetic ligaments were used in the late eighties.From your point of view, there is a vertical or oblique scar on the front of the knee together with two small scars from stab incisions that allow the arthroscope and surgical instruments to be introduced into the knee. If additional surgery is required to repair a cartilage, a further incision may be made towards the back of the knee on either the outside or inside. A small area of the skin on the outside (lateral side) of the knee is usually numb after surgery. Sometimes there is numbness on the shin. Although the numbness can be permanent, the area of numbness usually gets smaller with time and does not usually cause any problems. Surgery is usually performed under a spinal anaesthetic. At the end of the operation the area affected by the surgery is infiltrated with local anaesthetic. Sometimes an epidural block or a femoral nerve block is also used. If this is the case you will notice numbness and tingling in your legs when you wake up. This gradually wears off over 8 hours or so. After leaving the recovery area pain control can usually be achieved with tablets alone. Anti-inflammatory medication is often used to help with pain control, so it is important that you tell your anaesthetist if you have ever had a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding, as this medication may not be appropriate in that situation. You will be awake within 20 minutes of the operation and should be able to eat and drink after approximately 2 to 3 hours. On return to the ward after the operation, an inflatable cuff (Cryo-Cuff) is placed around the knee. This is filled with iced water to help control swelling. Patients find this very comfortable. Depending on your surgeon’s preference, you may have 1 or 2 drains placed in the knee joint so that unwanted blood does not accumulate and inhibit recovery. These drain tubes are usually removed the day after surgery. A physiotherapist will teach you exercises to get the knee out straight (extension) and regain function in the quadriceps muscle at the front of the thigh as well as make sure that you are confident walking with the aid of crutches. A brace or splint is usually required. You will usually go home on the morning after surgery. Following surgery you will be provided with information regarding rehabilitation. This outlines the rate of progression. Rehabilitation can be undertaken either independently or under the supervision of a physiotherapist.It is very important to rest during the first week after surgery in particular. This means spending most of the time on a bed or couch with the leg elevated and regular icing of the knee. The main aim during this phase is to restore full extension of the knee. The time off work that is required will vary according to your job. If it is mainly deskwork, then patients may be able to work within 2 weeks. If heavy manual work is involved, it may be 2 to 3 months before one can consider return to work. In general, crutches are required for up to 2 weeks. In terms of returning to sport most patients are able to recommence some of their activities by 4 months. By 6 months the majority of patients are able to gradually resume training for their original sports with a view to returning to play from 9 or 10 months. However, improvement continues for another 6 to 12 months after that. COMPLICATIONS While most patients are happy with the outcome of their surgery, there are nonetheless some risks, which need to be borne in mind. ANAESTHETICS Always involve some kind of risk, but these are statistically minimal. INFECTION Antibiotics are given at the time of surgery to reduce the risk of infection. Despite this infection of the wound can occur. This is usually easily treated with antibiotics. However, sometimes the infection gets into the joint. This is a serious complication and requires admission to hospital, additional surgery and intravenous antibiotics. VENOUS THROMBOSIS A thrombosis is a blood clot that may form in the veins in the legs. This can cause persistent swelling of the foot and ankle and can also be dislodged and be carried to the lungs (pulmonary embolus), resulting in chest pain and breathing difficulties. However, the risk of thrombosis is statistically very low.DONOR SITE If you have a hamstring graft it is very common to experience the sensation of tearing something at the back of the knee around 3 to 8 weeks after surgery. This is just stretching of the scar tissue being laid down in the tendon harvest site. Although it may be associated with some pain and bruising, this usually settles over a few days and do not affect the long-term outcome. If you have a patellar tendon graft there can be pain at the lower end of the patella. This can occur as late as 9 to 10 months after surgery but usually settles with time. HARDWARE Occasionally one of the devices used to hold the graft in place while it heals to bone may become prominent some months after surgery. If problematic, the hardware can be removed without risk to the graft. OTHER Persisting problems can occur as a result of poor compliance with rehabilitation, failure of the graft, or significant additional damage to the knee from the original injury such as torn ligaments or cartilages or osteoarthritis.

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Total Hip Replacement INR   0 INR  0
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Total Hip Replacement

The operation of a total hip replacement is a well established, long lasting procedure for relieving the pain involved with hip arthritis. This type of surgery has been used effectively now for over 40 years and remains the treatment of choice to achieve an excellent quality of life for sufferers of hip arthritis.THE PROCEDURE ANAESTHETIC The type of anaesthetic that is used for the procedure will vary according to each patient’s co-existent medical conditions and also your wishes. Our group of anaesthetists are all competent in both general and regional (spinal) anaesthetics and will discuss with you prior to the procedure the benefits and risks of each technique. SURGERY Through an incision approximately 12-15cm long centred over the side of the hip and curving gently towards the buttock, the hip joint can be entered with minimal trauma to the surrounding muscles. The hip is dislocated and the femur bone is cut through its neck to expose both the pelvic and leg sides of the joint. Depending upon the quality of the bone and the age of the patient either a cemented or cementless component is fixed to the pelvis and similarly to the femur. The ball and socket mechanism of the joint is then reconstructed with either a metal on plastic (polyethylene) articulation or ceramic on ceramic articulation. Computer navigation may be used to ensure that the leg length obtained is correct and the orientation of the components is optimal to provide for maximum range of motion of the new hip. Following the surgery you will be able to mobilize fully weight bearing on the hip the day after the procedure. You will be aided by the physiotherapist and nursing staff and taught how to safely use a frame initially and then graduate onto crutches. Your hospital stay will be between 5-7 days and depending upon your home supports and progress. Most people will be able to dispense with their crutches approximately 4-6 weeks following the surgery. During this time period you should sleep flat on your back, not cross your legs and use a seat raise for the toilet. These precautions will be emphasised by the physiotherapist during your hospital stay.All our patients are routinely put on home based physiotherapy post discharge. AFTER DISCHARGE Driving the car is not allowed for 6 weeks following the surgery and car travel as a passenger should be minimised during this period. These restrictions minimise the chance of the hip dislocating whilst the muscles and soft tissues around your hip heal. At 6 weeks following the procedure you will be reviewed by your surgeon. Most patients are then given the all clear to return to recreational walking, swimming, cycling, golf, tennis, bowls, gymnasium workouts and other recreational pursuits as desired. It is not advised that you undertake running or jumping activities following a hip replacement. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What are the risks involved with the procedure? There are general risks associated with any surgery, these are those of the anaesthetic (please speak to your anaesthetist prior to the operation), bleeding, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolization (PE)), infection and vascular injury. Specific to the surgery are the risks of dislocation of the hip prosthesis, leg length inequality, fracture of the pelvis or femur, wear and loosening of the implants, audible ‘squeaking’ of the articulating components (ceramics), nerve injury. When can I return to work? Most people should be able to return to work at 6 weeks post-surgery. This may be extended if you perform a job involving heavy manual labour. When can I resume sexual activity? Sexual intercourse can safely be undertaken 6 weeks following the surgery. How long do I need to keep taking pain-killing medicine for? When you leave the hospital you will be given tablet analgesia for pain. You should take this for as long as you have pain when walking or at night. Most people are able to cease analgesics by 4 weeks following the surgery. Do I need to do physiotherapy when I go home? You will be given a sheet of exercises from the physiotherapist when you leave the hospital. You should do these exercises as instructed. You do not need to visit a physiotherapist once discharged.

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