Leading a diabetic life is by no means an easy task; add to that the need of a knee replacement surgery can at times create a lot of confusion. If you are reading this article chances are you or someone you know has diabetes and want to know if a TKR safe for diabetic, will there be post surgery complications. In this article we hope to address most of the misconceptions surrounding knee replacement for diabetics and what can be done to prevent pre & post surgery trauma.
Firstly, it’s important to know advancements in knee replacement surgery has come a long way. In the early days when a incision in the muscle was required to reach the joint replacement, which also required blood transfusion. Consequently, the recovery was painful and took about a month to recover. However, with the latest Painless and Minimal-Stitch knee replacement surgery most normal patients start walking on the same day and are back to normal life in a week’s time. This surgery is safe for diabetic patients aswell as long as it is performed under the guidance of experienced knee replacement surgeon and certain pre and post operative parameters are met.
So let’s get down to it.

How does Diabetes Affect Joint Replacement Surgery?

Surgery and anesthesia used during a surgery creates an inflammation in the operated region initiates an autoimmune response by the body by the release of adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, glucagon and other hormones. In patients with uncontrolled diabetes this can increases insulin resistance and glucose levels in the body. This can trigger significant hyperglycemia and can lead to deep tissue infection. Eventually, affecting surgical outcomes.

Any surgical procedure no matter how safe puts immense stress on the human body. Diabetic patients inherently have weakened immune system, muscles and body tissues. This weakness affects the overall recovery post surgery.

Pre- Knee Replacement Surgery Measures for Diabetes patients?

“Being fully prepared for a surgery is half the battle won”.

We cannot emphasis enough on this, when it comes to diabetic & Hyperglycemic patients. Be it type-1 or type-2 diabetes a rigorous pre-op regime has to be laid out depending on the patients medical history with the objective of controlling diabetes and reducing risks.

  1. Medical Management: When you first visit your orthopaedic a detailed screening for Diabetes and related co-morbid conditions is important. Accordingly, working with your diabetologist a plan is put in place to prepare you and your body for the surgery is important. This might require medical management of blood sugar levels and any other problems like high blood pressure, renal impairment etc. these need to be brought to stable levels to go ahead for surgery. Apart from medical management your doctor might suggest certain diet and physiotherapy to prepare for the surgery.
  2. Diet: Type-2 diabetes is primarily a lifestyle disease and controlling your diet to reduce your HbA1c level (levels around 8% or less should suffice) plays a vital role in surgical outcomes. So what should your diet include… foods which are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties are essential to help mange surgical (inflammatory) stress on the body. Its highly recommended to consult a surgical dietitian who can help you get the best diet to prepare for a knee surgery.
  3. Exercise: This is something which is suggested to even normal patients. Diabetics, generally have weak muscles, its critical to undergo muscle strengthening program before surgery. Studies have shown that pre-op exercise significantly eases and reduces recovery period. When you undergo knee replacement surgery under Dr. Shailendra Patil our Physiotherapist helps you with a home exercise program before and after surgery.

Post- Knee Replacement Surgery Measures for Diabetes patients?

Post surgery a diabetic patient with most parameters in control can start walking within a day or two. The medical management of diabetic and co-morbid conditions continue to avoid any post surgery complications, that may arise. The exercise and diet plan continues for a few months until the patient is back to his normal life.

So as you have read by now that diabetic patients can undergo knee replacement surgery in a safe manner as long as it is done under professional care by your Knee surgeon and diabetologist. Especially minimally invasive techniques which involves less cutting and sticking and handling of tissue makes surgery and recovery very smooth, even diabetic pts don’t get any healing problems post surgery