I am often asked by patients when they can return to normal activities such as driving. There are two main considerations here: comfort and safety.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture: Who should have surgery?
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is a common injury among athletes. It usually occurs after a rotational injury whilst pivoting off the affected leg. The injury usually causes acute pain and swelling which often settles within a few weeks. There is, however, residual instability in the knee, particularly with movements such as pivoting or sidestepping.
Generally, it is safe to travel long distances by plane from 6 weeks post joint replacement. This seems to be the higher risk period for complications such as Deep Vein thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolus (PE). After 6 weeks, the risk has returned to normal background levels. Of course, all patients present different individual risk profiles, and the specific issue of travel after joint replacement should be discussed with your surgeon.
I am often asked whether patients should have a partial knee replacement as it is seen to be less invasive to the patient, giving a faster recovery and better function.
Pooled research shows that regular, guided exercise with strength training can have benefits similar to Non Steroid Anti-inflammatory medication
Computer navigated total knee arthroplasty is a proven and useful technique to help plan, execute and document knee replacement procedures. During the operation, the surgeon digitises preoperative information about alignment and instability and then plans the appropriate surgery in real time on the computer. The surgeon then places cutting jigs on the bone according to the accurate planning that has just taken place.
The figure below shows the range of motion and stability parameters of a knee before replacement surgery. It confirms a varus (bowed) knee with poor movement.