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Is a Knee Replacement very painful?

Many people have heard that Knee Replacement surgery is quite painful and are apprehensive about the treatment.

Actually, with modern-day pain management techniques, post-operative pain is easily only 2-3 out of 10 on the pain scale. Previously, pain may be 5 to 8.

Our centre also uses several techniques which reduce post-operative pain and allow early walking and exercising.


 

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Both Knee Total Knee Replacements (TKR)

Why is a Knee Replacement so painful traditionally?

This is because the surgery removes the damaged joint surfaces from the knee bones, and the cut bone surfaces can induce quite a lot of pain. Also, retraction and tensioning of the soft tissues, such as ligaments and joint capsule, also cause pain.

By the same reasoning, a complex case where there is more deformity of the leg, for example when patients seek treatment later, can have more pain after the surgery.

What modern-day pain management techniques are there?

These techniques include:

- Peri-articular Analgesic 'Cocktail' - an injection that the surgeon performs during the surgery to reduce pain and inflammation

- Pre-emptive Analgesia - starting the appropriate medications even before the surgery

- Femoral nerve block - an injection that the anaesthetist performs to numb the main nerve to the knee

- Intra-articular Analgesic infusion - a continuous drip that delivers pain medications into the knee

- Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) - an on-demand pump that the patient controls himself/herself to deliver pain medications to the body

What are the other ways to reduce post-operative pain?

Surgical technique is also very important towards post-operative pain. As mentioned, in cases where there is a lot of retraction and tensioning during the surgery, post-operative pain tends to be more.

At Centurion, our centre utilises a Minimally-Invasive approach together with several surgical philosophies that reduce soft tissue manipulation, thereby reducing post-operative inflammation and pain.

Pre-habilitation, or strengthening the knee before the surgery, also helps reduce post-operative pain by letting the knee have better muscular control. Pre-habilitation is an important aspect of our Knee Replacement treatment protocol.