Total Knee Replacement
If more conservative treatment options are no longer effective at alleviating knee arthritis symptoms and chronic knee pain affects your everyday life, total knee replacement may be an option. Knee replacement surgery can reduce pain, improve mobility, and lead to better quality of life.
Dr. Adam Whatley is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who has been in practice for over 10 years. Dr. Whatley also gained a tremendous amount of experience with procedures like total knee replacement with hands-on residency and fellowship training. He completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) in New Orleans and completed a fellowship with Harvard University / Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Though his fellowship was focused on sports medicine, knee replacements were a large part of his fellowship, and he had the opportunity to work on many challenging cases at that time.
With total knee replacement, Dr. Whatley encourages collaborative communication with his patients to ensure they feel they are having the right procedure at the right time by the right surgeon. He does not push patients into surgery before they are ready.
When Is Total Knee Replacement Recommended?
Total knee replacement is considered an elective procedure, meaning that it is not emergency related or life-preserving. With that said, knee arthritis can cause disability that affects a patient’s overall quality of life, and more conservative treatment options might not provide sufficient improvement.
Dr. Whatley’s goal is not to push patients with severe arthritis to have knee replacement surgery, but rather to let his patients guide the discussion. He is here to provide patients with his expert opinion on available treatment options and realistic expectations for outcomes, but it is ultimately the patient’s decision on how they would like to move forward. Total knee replacement is a major operation, and Dr. Whatley feels it is best for the patient to move forward only when they are fully ready to do so.
With that said, patients experiencing the following symptoms may benefit from knee replacement surgery:
- Pain and/or stiffness in the knee that is severe enough to affect daily life
- Chronic pain, inflammation and/or swelling in the knee that has not improved with nonsurgical treatments like medications and creams
- Significant deformity of the knee, such as bowing in our outward
Total Knee Replacement Procedure
During a total knee replacement, Dr. Whatley removes the damaged portions of the knee joint and replaces them with implants designed to mimic normal knee function. Knee implants are selected based on the patient’s needs and anatomy. Dr. Whatley works with both standard implant options and Conformis custom-fit implants, which may be an option for more athletic patients who put more demand on the knee than the average patient.
In some cases, Dr. Whatley may use a muscle-sparing approach for knee replacement. Traditionally, the quadriceps tendon is cut during a knee replacement, but in a muscle-sparing approach, it is not. This may be an option for patients who are not overweight and have not had previous surgery on the extensor mechanisms in the knee.
Recovering from Total Knee Replacement
Following knee replacement surgery, Dr. Whatley’s patients stay at the hospital overnight, and the vast majority are able to return home the following day. Dr. Whatley’s team uses multimodal pain management techniques to help with pain in the initial recovery period.
Patients are encouraged to move the knee as soon as possible after surgery to prevent stiffness. Physical therapy is a very important component in the long-term result of a knee replacement, more so than a hip replacement. Dr. Whatley’s patients participate in physical therapy for at least 6 weeks after surgery, with the goal of improving strength and range of motion in the knee. Though the recovery process can be painful, it is very important for patients to remain committed to the exercise program to regain full mobility.
Full return to activity can vary from patient to patient, depending on their progress in physical therapy and the activities they normally do. Some people are able to get around with minimal assistance within 2 weeks of surgery, while others may require more time and physical therapy. Return to work will also depend on the activities required. Patients with desk jobs are typically out of work for no more than 3-4 weeks, while patients with jobs requiring manual labor may be out for about 8-10 weeks. Dr. Whatley will advise when it is safe to return to certain activities based on the patient’s individual needs and progress.
Total Knee Replacement in Zachary, New Roads & St. Francisville, LA
Dr. Adam Whatley is a board certified and fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in knee replacement surgery. Dr. Whatley has over 10 years of experience with total knee replacement in his practice, in addition to the years of experience he gained during his residency at LSU Health Sciences Center and fellowship at Harvard University / Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Whatley believes that open communication with patients is important, and that it should be up to the patient to decide when they are ready for a major elective procedure like total knee replacement. He is here to provide his expert opinion, but will not push a patient to have surgery if they are not ready.