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.
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.