Also known as double knee replacement surgery, bilateral knee replacement is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace both knees. Knee replacement is a procedure that is frequently performed when arthritis or other damage to the knee becomes severe and affects an individual’s quality of life.
Double knee replacement procedure can be recommended to individuals who are physically healthy, are at a healthy weight, do not have cardiovascular problems, and with no or very well-controlled diabetes.
Simultaneous bilateral knee replacement: In this case, the knees are replaced at the same time. One good benefit of simultaneous surgery is that healing of both knees requires one hospital stay and one round of rehabilitation.
However, because it is more challenging to use both knees simultaneously, recovery may take longer. Many patients who undergo this procedure require assistance while recovering at home.
Staged bilateral knee replacement: This is when each knee is replaced at a different time. Since the surgeries are done a few months apart, it allows one knee to recover before the second knee undergoes surgery.
Even though there are reduced risks and a shorter hospital stay for this procedure, the overall rehabilitation period takes longer since there are two surgeries involved.
Some of the possible risks that may arise as a result of bilateral knee replacement include:
Prior to surgery, the orthopedic surgeon checks the patient’s overall health and reaction to anesthesia. The doctor may include the following during the evaluation:
For several weeks, the patient should prepare to use crutches or a walker to move around. Therefore he/she should set up his/her home adequately for rehabilitation after surgery.
Bilateral knee replacement surgery can last for up to two hours, and is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes a long surgical cut above the patient’s knee. He/she removes the damaged cartilage and bone while the skin and muscle are pulled back. Finally the surgeon attaches the new knee joint to the patient’s femur and tibia (prominent bone in the lower leg) by using specialized cement, pins, and screws. The doctor the sutures the incision wound and dresses it.