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back on your feet

Back On Your Feet in No Time: Newest Breakthroughs in Hip & Knee Replacement Surgery

Earlier this month, The Kensington White Plains hosted their webinar “Ready. Set. Start Your Health & Wellness Journey in 2023! Breakthroughs in Hip & Knee Replacement” sharing the newest knee replacement technology and advances in joint replacement surgery.

Our guest speaker was Dr. Nana Sarpong, MD, MBA of the New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical Center.

In this Zoom presentation, Dr. Sarpong shared his findings on the latest advances in hip and knee reconstruction surgery and recovery for seniors. 

Read on for our summary of the presentation and to learn more about advances in computer-assisted surgeries, robotics, and the warning signs and symptoms to be aware of in your loved one’s mobility.

When does knee or hip replacement become necessary?

As adults grow older, it’s not uncommon for them to develop mobility issues, usually caused by sore knees and hips.

Today, roughly 25% of seniors depend on walking aides such as canes or walkers.

Mobility problems, such as bad knees or hips can cause further health issues, such as depression, weight gain, increased risk of infections, and muscle deterioration.

As a general rule, knee or hip replacement surgery should be the last resort option after traditional physical therapy and rehabilitation are no longer working.

Warning signs that your loved one may require a hip replacement or knee replacement surgery, include:

  • Their physical therapy and rehabilitation no longer relieve their pain
  • Hip and knee pain are interfering with sleep schedules
  • Constant pain in knees or hips that won’t go away with pain medication
  • Having a fractured or broken hip and pelvis
  • Swelling and stiffness in the legs and hips limit mobility 

Common types of knee replacement surgeries 

A knee replacement involves removing portions of bones from the affected knee joint and replacing it with an artificial knee implant.

Knee replacement is necessary to correct damages caused by advanced arthritis—where the knee cartilage has worn away and the knee bone’s surface has become exposed, causing pain, stiffness, and a misalignment in the knee.

There are two major forms of knee replacement—total and partial.

Total knee replacement

Total knee replacement, or full knee replacement, is the most common in people with late-stage advanced knee arthritis. 

In a total knee replacement, the surface of the knee bones is replaced with an artificial prosthesis, creating a new surface for the knee joint to move.

Partial knee replacement

A partial knee replacement is useful if only a certain portion of the knee has been affected by arthritis. 

Generally speaking, it’s better to get a partial knee replacement over a total knee replacement to preserve the natural motion and range of tissue and bones. 

For people with very advanced stages of arthritis, however, complete knee replacement will become necessary.

The common types of hip replacement surgeries

Hip replacement surgery is used to remove and replace portions of the pelvis and thigh bone to relieve hip pain and stiffness caused by hip arthritis. 

Depending on the severity of the hip pain and wear and tear, there may be three options for hip replacement—total, partial, or hip resurfacing.

Total hip replacement 

Also known as “total hip arthroplasty,” total hip replacement is the most common form of hip replacement.

In this procedure, portions of the pelvis, femur (thighbone), the femoral head (ball joint), and hip socket are removed and replaced with artificial cartilage that reduces friction during hip movements.

Partial hip replacement

A partial hip replacement is similar to a total hip replacement, except only the femoral head (ball joint) is replaced, not the hip’s ball socket. 

Compared to a full hip replacement, the partial hip replacement is more stable and the femoral head (ball joint) is less likely to dislocate.

Hip resurfacing

Hip resurfacing doesn’t involve the removal of any bones but instead removes damaged cartilage and bone from the surface, then places a metal or ceramic ball between the hip joints to act as a new, protective barrier.

Compared to the other options, hip resurfacing preserves the most bones and gives patients the ability to perform more high-impact activities, such as running or walking. 

The newest knee replacement technology breakthroughs

Thanks to improvements in robotics technology and computer-assisted surgeries (CAS), orthopedic surgeons are able to perform minimally invasive procedures that create less scarring and have a quicker post-surgery recovery time. 

Minimally invasive orthopedic surgery

Compared to traditional orthopedic surgery, minimally invasive surgery results in less postoperative swelling and requires drastically smaller incisions to perform work inside the body.

Normally, a traditional knee replacement would require an 8-10 inch incision, whereas minimally invasive surgery only requires four to six inches.

Computer-assisted surgery

Also known as robot-assisted surgery, orthopedic surgeons control a robotic arm to perform surgery with greater precision and stillness, overcoming any handshaking that may interfere with surgery.

Robot-assisted surgery is used for both knee replacement and hip replacement surgeries. It gives surgeons greater magnification for greater precision, which results in shorter recovery times and greater surgery success.

How to recover after knee or hip replacement surgery

Recovery time will vary depending on the type of joint replacement surgery received.

Generally speaking, a full knee and hip replacement recovery lasts about a year, with the first three months being used for extensive physical rehabilitation to improve range of motion. 

Recovery time is also affected by the severity of the issue and the patient’s health and age.

The most important steps for improving recovery include:

  1. Engaging in regular physical rehabilitation therapy
  2. Managing a healthy and nutritious diet based on the body’s needs
  3. Getting plenty of rest and sleep
  4. Avoiding crossing the leg at the knee or squatting below the knees
  5. Keeping a close watch for any signs of infection or blood clot
  6. Use ice to reduce pain and swelling
  7. Applying heat to the affected area before exercising or practical physical therapy

The Kensington White Plains—your expert partners in rehabilitation care after surgery

The Kensington White Plains is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community located in White Plains, New York.

Our team of healthcare professionals includes on-site physical rehabilitation specialists who can help your loved one recover more quickly from a knee or hip replacement.

Learn more about The Kensington’s on-site amenities which include all-day dining, life enrichment classes, and a busy event calendar

Do you have a loved one dealing with memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s or dementia

At The Kensington, Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we would our own.

Contact us today for more information on our physical rehabilitation program and available floor plans in our community.

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