Joint Replacement Center:
Total Knee Replacement
A total knee replacement involves removing damaged cartilage from bone and replacing the parts with prosthetic (plastic and metal) components. To understand a total knee replacement you will need to learn about the structure of the knee joint.
The knee consists of three bones: the femur (thighbone); the tibia (shin bone); and patella (kneecap).
As you perform simple activities such as walking or climbing stairs these bones move in a smooth motion which enables you to move easily without pain.
When the knee becomes damaged or injured the joint loses the ability to bend and move smoothly as the bones rub together. The result of bones rubbing together causes increased pain, swelling and the inability to walk or bend the knee. This is also known as "wear and tear" of the joint.
During knee replacement surgery
- The surgeon removes damaged and arthritic cartilage and bone
- Remaining bone is resurfaced and replaced with metal components that create the "new" surface of the joint.
- Plastic and metal components are implanted in the knee joint and a plastic spacer is inserted between the metal components to create a smooth gliding surface.
The goal of knee replacement surgery is to improve mobility, decrease pain in the knee joint and improve the motion of the knee.
(Left) Severe osteoarthritis. (Right) The arthritic cartilage and underlying bone has been removed and resurfaced with metal implants on the femur and tibia. A plastic spacer has been placed in between the implants. The patellar component is not shown for clarity.
Types of Procedures:
Total Knee Replacement (Knee Arthroplasty)
Damaged cartilage and bone in the knee are replaced with prosthetic components.
Unicompartmental Knee Replacement (Partial Knee Replacement):
Only the damaged compartment of the knee is replaced. The healthy cartilage and bone in the knee is left in place.
A surgical procedure in which a joint is viewed using a small camera
This assists the Physician in diagnosis and treatment of knee problems
During surgery, a small camera is inserted into the knee joint
displaying images on a screen
The images are used to guide miniature surgical instruments to
feel, repair, or remove damaged tissue.
Transitioning to Home
Patients undergoing knee replacement surgery are typically in the hospital two to three days. The surgeon will determine the length of stay based on patient specific needs. Most patients return directly home to recover and continue with rehabilitation independently or at an outpatient rehabilitation clinic. Patients will notice an improvement in joint stiffness and pain allowing for a gradual return to normal daily activities. Some restrictions may apply and your Surgeon will indicate these restrictions on a patient specific level.