Posted 06/06/2017

Dr. Ray Charette is part of Murray Orthopaedics at Murray-Calloway County Hospital. He specializes in total knee replacement surgery. Murray Orthopaedics recently received the award from Healthgrades for Joint Replacement Excellence Award, Total Knee Replacement Five-Star Recipient, and Hip Fracture Treatment Five-Star Recipient.

Dr. Charette has been practicing orthopaedic surgery in Western Kentucky for 36 years. His practice currently focuses on total knee replacements. Below, Dr. Charette answers questions that all of his patients ask. Do you have these same questions?

Q:  When do I know I need a total knee replacement?
A:  “The main indication for a total knee replace is severe debilitating pain in the knee and not being responsive to any other treatments. If your pain bothers you and interferes with your daily living then that is when you know it is time.”

Q:  What is a total knee replacement?
A:  “A total knee replacement, I find, is actually a poor term because it implies to the patient that the entire knee is taken out and replaced. I like to compare it to doing a retread on an old tire. You take the old tire scrap off the bad rubber and glue on a new tread. A knee replacement might be more accurately termed a knee "resurfacing" because only the surface of the bones are actually replaced. There are four steps to a knee replacement procedure:

1. Prepare the bone. The damaged cartilage surfaces at the ends of the femur and tibia are removed along with a small amount of underlying bone.

2. Position the metal implants. The removed cartilage and bone is replaced with metal components that recreate the surface of the joint.

3. Resurface the patella. The undersurface of the patella (kneecap) is cut and resurfaced with a plastic button.

4. Insert a spacer. A plastic spacer is inserted between the metal components to create a smooth gliding surface.

All components are fixed to the bone with an acrylic cement which allows the patient to be up the day after surgery, full weight bearing, if able.”

Q:  What can I expect after surgery?
A:  “After surgery patients are returned to their room and allowed to remain on bed rest for the first day. The average hospital stay is 2-3 days. On the second day the patient is allowed to be up, full weight bearing. Starting light lift and range of motion exercises. Usually on the third day after a short course of therapy our patients are discharged home. For the next 2-3 weeks home health physical therapy will visit you. Then outpatient physical therapy is prescribed to the patient to gain back their strength. Patients are allowed to move around as much as tolerated after the procedure. The only thing that is not suggested to do is high impact activities such as long distance running. Even though it will be a long process of recovery, keep in mind that the goal is pain relief and improvement of function.”

“The vast majority of patients are very satisfied with this procedure,” said Dr. Charette about the overall outcome of the total knee replacement for patients.

Dr. Ray Charette practices at Murray Orthopaedics located in the MCCH Medical Arts Building at 300 South 8th Street, 284 West Wing. For more information or to make an appointment, call 270.761.5756.