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Mother had both knees done in her late 70's--sadly, since she isn't active or willing to put in the PT, she has really gone downhill, mobility wise. It's up to the patient, a LOT as to the outcome, good or bad. Also, if you do this, you make sure you vet the surgeon really well!!
However I have had two friends who have had awful problems with their knee replacements. In both cases it was lack of good follow-up after the surgery. So I recommend:
1) Finding an excellent surgeon. Interview more than one. Ask about not just the surgery but follow-up. In my case it was the physicians assistant that did the follow-up and he was excellent. So it doesn't need to be the surgeon himself.
2) Read up on the surgery and recovery as much as possible, so you know what is normal and what to expect. One friend did not do this, and when she fell through the cracks in ordering follow-up physical therapy (a HUGE error on the surgeons part), she did not realize that she should have had it.
3)Listen to your body and if you have ANY questions about problems get a 2nd opinion. My other friend was having lots of pain, but her surgeon dismissed her complaints multiple times as normal recovery problems. It turns out that she had infections in the knees which in the end required long term antibiotics and replacement of the knees (again). If you are having a problem and the surgeon does not listen to you, go find someone else who will!
Now a days there are options such as a gel that be placed into the knee if your problem is bone on bone. I think it would be worth looking into.
So all that and she lost her mobility anyway. Plus she’s in chronic pain. Losing her mobility and being unable to do the things she enjoyed in life brought on depression and dementia. I’m not saying she didn’t need something done, as she was ‘bone on bone’ and I haven’t heard of the additional padding that can be applied to relieve that situation. The medical care is bad in my state.