What You Should Know About Knee Replacements
If you have a knee injury that isn’t getting better with rest or the use of over-the-counter medication, or if you develop knee pain without trauma and the pain doesn’t subside, it’s time to see a medical provider. You may also need to make a doctor’s appointment if you experience instability, knee stiffness or loss of motion.
When Dr. Brandon Prioreschi, a Middlesex Health orthopedic surgeon, visits with patients who experience knee pain, he discusses both surgical and non-surgical options. If a knee replacement is needed, he wants his patients to understand the procedure and feel confident about their decision.
“This is a major, life-changing surgery,” he says. “Patients should make sure they have a surgeon they trust and who does enough knee replacement each year to have reliable outcomes.”
At Middlesex Health, Dr. Prioreschi uses Stryker’s Mako SmartRobotics System. This state-of-the art technology assists him as he performs knee placement surgeries.
With the Mako SmartRobotics System, a patient gets a CT scan of their knee and leg prior to surgery, and a 3D model of their anatomy is created. Ligament length and function is determined, and a customized plan for surgery is created based on the person’s anatomy. Imaging guides the robotic arm, which is controlled by Dr. Prioreschi at all times. This allows for minimal bone resections and more appropriately sized implants that are placed in a position that conforms to a person’s anatomy — instead of making their anatomy fit the implant.
“In my experience, this leads to smoother knee motion with less soft tissue damage and a more reliable outcome,” Dr. Prioreschi says. “The robotic arm also helps to make perfect bone resections, which allows me to use implants that the body grows into. This results in a more resilient implant with lower risk of failure over time due to loosening.”
Regardless of whether you have more traditional knee surgery or robotic knee surgery, recovery still takes time. It can take up to a year to recover fully from knee surgery, but Dr.Prioreschi says most of that recovery happens within the first 90 days. Patients are up and walking with a walker the same day as their surgery, and many are able to go home that same day too, he says.
While recovery can be painful, nerve blocks, local anesthetic injections and preoperative nerve freezing procedures can be used to lessen that pain. And once someone is recovered, Dr. Prioreschi says they should expect a knee that moves better, is more stable and no longer painful.
It is worth noting that knee replacements aren’t just for older adults.
“The old adage that you have to wait until you’re of a certain age really doesn’t apply,” Dr. Prioreschi says. “While I don’t recommend knee replacements for people in their 30s with mild arthritis, some young adults have terrible knees that are ruining their quality of life and taking away years of activity and productivity.”
Dr. Prioreschi encourages anyone experiencing knee pain to ask questions, especially if surgery is a treatment option. “Ask questions, even if they seem trivial or silly,” he says. “Don’t be afraid to question your surgeon about their techniques, complication rates, outcomes or experience. If a question seems unimportant, but matters to you, ask it.”
Dr. Prioreschi says it is important to understand what will happen both during and after surgery — even the small details. Educating yourself on the procedure and recovery and being prepared to work hard will ultimately lead to a better outcome.
For more information about knee replacements and orthopedic procedures at Middlesex Health, click here.
Specialties / Areas of Care
- Birmingham Hip Resurfacing
- Partial Knee Replacement
- Sports Injuries
- Robotic Total Hip & Total Knee Replacement
- Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
- Advanced Revision Surgery for Total Hip & Total Knee Replacement
- Arthritis Care
- Operative & Non-Operative Fracture Care
- Care of the Active Duty Service Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
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- Middletown, CT
- Middletown, CT
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