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Total Knee Replacement

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Walking, bending, climbing stairs, and participating in many recreational activities requires the use of our knees, one of the hardest-working joints in the body. When arthritis or an injury leads to knee pain or mobility problems that cannot be alleviated with non-surgical treatments, a total knee replacement may be recommended. In the hands of our extensively trained orthopaedic surgeons, knee replacement can be a highly successful procedure, helping to restore function, comfort, and quality-of-life for many patients. If you’re bothered by continuing knee discomfort and dysfunction, contact our practice to schedule an appointment at a time convenient for you.

What is a total knee replacement?

Knee replacement is a technique that removes the damaged tissue from the knee joint and replaces it with medical-grade plastic and metal components that mimic the joint’s function. The knee joint is made up of the bottom tip of the femur (the thigh bone), the patella (kneecap), and topmost tip of the tibia (lower leg bone), as well as multiple tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Your leg muscles help to support and strengthen your knee as it performs a variety of movements. When disease, injury, or long-term wear and tear reduce the ability of these tissues to do their job, pain, weakness, and dysfunction can result.

What causes knee pain?

A number of issues can play a role in the degeneration of the knee joint. Some of the most common causes of chronic knee pain and instability include:

  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Injury
  • Wear and tear

One of the best ways to determine if knee replacement is right for your needs and condition is to discuss your concerns with a board certified orthopaedic surgeon. Our surgeons can review your medical history, evaluate your symptoms, and develop a customized treatment plan that optimizes your outcome. Our first priority is to utilize minimally invasive and non-surgical treatments at the outset. But if these methods prove ineffective, a total knee replacement may be advised.

When is a knee replacement necessary?

We believe the least invasive technique should be tried first, followed with successively more aggressive treatments that are appropriate and could provide relief. Many patients who experience knee pain can find relief with physical therapy and other non-surgical approaches. If, however, your mobility is significantly compromised, your pain is lasting (even when sleeping or at rest), and non-invasive options have not been helpful, a knee replacement could be the most effective procedure. Not everyone is a candidate for a total knee replacement. We will review your health and other anatomic characteristics before making a recommendation about which technique is ideal for you.

Total Knee Replacement Procedure

Prior to your surgery, you and your surgeon will discuss which type of knee prosthesis will be appropriate for your anatomic needs. The day of the operation, you will be admitted to the hospital. Using an incision on the front of the knee, the arthritic and damaged tissue is removed and the appropriately sized components placed. Some components may be cemented in while others may use a combination of screws or other methods to remain stable.

Total Knee Replacement Recovery

Surgery typically takes one to two hours, depending on the complexity of your operation. You will likely need to remain in the hospital for a few days, and you will need help performing common tasks for the first couple of weeks after the procedure. We will manage your pain and swelling with medication, but some discomfort is to be expected for a short period. Beginning the day after surgery, you should start a physical therapy program to regain movement in your knee. Strength and flexibility exercises will be assigned gradually as you recover. These activities are essential to achieving the optimal outcome.

The healing process will take several months. Most patients can return to driving after four to six weeks. Other milestones will be discussed during your follow-up visits, which are used to monitor your progress and make sure your results are developing as planned. Your care and comfort are very important to us, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.

Learn more about knee replacement surgery from our experienced surgeons. Call our office to schedule a consultation for more information.