Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure where the worn out surfaces of the knee are resurfaced with metal and plastic components. Over time, the cartilage that cushions the bones can wear away, cause pain and discomfort, and make simple pleasures like walking and shopping unbearable. Knee replacement can reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and get you back to normal life.
Partial knee replacement is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that resurfaces the worn, arthritic surfaces of the knee joint with metal and plastic components. Over time, the cartilage covering the ends of the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) can wear away causing pain, swelling and reduced mobility. If the wear is confined to one area of the knee, partial knee replacement may be an option.
The knee joint is made up of three bones – the femur, the tibia and the patella, or knee cap. The femur contacts the tibia with two areas, called condyles – the medial condyle and the lateral condyle. The underside of the kneecap also contacts the femur and tibia as it glides along the groove in the femur. Any of these three areas of contact can fall victim to the wear and tear effects of arthritis – causing pain, heat, stiffness and swelling. Total knee replacement involves the replacement of all three surfaces with metal and plastic components. If arthritis is limited to either the lateral or medial compartment of the knee, partial knee replacement may be considered.
There are many kinds and designs of knee implants available today, and no one design or type is best for every patient or their particular situation. Each surgeon selects the implant that they believe is best for their patient’s needs based on a number of factors including age, activity level, the implant’s track record, and his or her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant. If you have specific questions regarding implants, your surgeon will be happy to answer them for you.
Knee replacement is recognized as one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In the United States, over 400,000 people have their knees replaced each year, and a recent panel of independent experts determined that ninety percent of those opting for knee replacement reported “fast pain relief, improved mobility, and better quality of life.”