Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore – What is it?
In Singapore, knee replacement surgery is needed when the knee joint becomes damaged, worn or diseased. It is also known as “knee resurfacing” or knee arthroplasty and is necessary when there is prolonged pain and mobility is affected.
Knee replacement surgery in Singapore is often performed by orthopaedics using metal or ceramic implants to cap the ends of the bones. These components are shaped just like a normal healthy knee joint and enables the knee to move properly.
Knee replacement surgery is considered a routine surgery in Singapore that is performed hundreds of thousand times all over the world. It is especially helpful for patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or when post-traumatic injuries have damaged the knee function.
The typical age of patients requiring knee replacement surgery in Singapore is between 50 and 80 years. Younger patients tend to be those that have been involved in accidents and trauma events. A high majority of replacement knee patients can function well for more than 15 years with a large number lasting over 20 years. Compliance and lifestyle affect how lasting a replaced knee can function. By and large, as long as the patient follows the surgeon’s instructions there is little to worry about.
What is Total Knee Replacement Surgery or Knee Arthroplasty?
Arthroplasty literally means the surgical repair of a joint. Total knee replacement involves surgical reconstruction and replacement of degenerated joints using prosthetic implants also known as artificial body parts. These parts are typically made of metal or ceramic – the choice of material is usually suggested by an orthopaedic surgeon who will make recommendations based on your needs.
Why is Total Knee Replacement Surgery needed in Singapore?
Knee bones wear out as the ends of the bones rub together. This especially affects the covering of the knee bones. When damage or degeneration occurs, patients will experience pain and have mobility issues. The 3 most common reasons for Total Knee Replacement surgery in Singapore are:
This condition is age related and caused by regular wear and tear of the knee joint. Athletes and marathon runners tend to be more prone to this type of bone degeneration. It is caused by inflammation, and the gradual and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. To compensate, bones often grow thicker, resulting in yet more friction and more pain.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is also called inflammatory arthritis. It happens when the membrane surrounding the knee joint thickens and becomes inflamed. This chronic inflammation destroys the cartilage, causing soreness, aches and stiffness.
After a severe knee injury, the bones around the knee could break and the ligaments could tear. This damages the knee cartilage and may require the need for knee replacement surgery.
Types of Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore
There are 2 general types of knee replacement surgery in Singapore: Total or Partial.
Total knee replacement, also known as TKR is where the surgery involves replacement of BOTH sides of the knee joint. Surgery time is between 1 to 3 hours. Generally, the patient will have improved mobility and lesser pain after a TKR.
Partial knee replacement, also known as PKR is where the surgeon only replaces one side of the knee joint. Since less bone is removed, a PKR incision is smaller. PKR is suitable for patients that have damage on only one part of the knee. Post-operative recovery is more straightforward since there is less risk of infection and hospital stays tend to be shorter.
However TKR surgeries tend to be more common as a total replacement lasts longer and damage usually occurs on both sides of the knee joints hence requiring replacement on more than one side of the knee.
Risks of Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore
Generally speaking, a total knee replacement surgery has low complication rates. However these are some possible risks:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Fracture post-surgery
- Nerve damage
Other less common complications:
- Allergic reactions to bone cement
- Excess scar tissue
- Excess bone formation around artificial joints
Alternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore
For certain patients, alternative procedures may be possible. It all depends on how severe the knee damage is. An orthopaedic surgeon would be the best person to discuss your options with you.
Where to go for Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore?
In Singapore there are a number of good orthopaedic surgeons. For knee replacement look for an orthopaedic surgeon that specialises in computer assisted joint replacement particularly for Total Knee Replacement and robotic surgery (MAKOplasty). Usually such doctors also treat various complications of joint replacements such as peri-prosthetic joint infections, persistent pain and recurrent infections, stiffness or loosening.