Knee replacement surgery may be right for you if you have ongoing knee pain, even with ongoing nonsurgical treatment. Knee replacement surgery can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints.
At OrthoMed Center, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and expert staff will guide you through the treatment process and help you decide what is right for you.
Knee replacement surgery is often recommended for people who have severe pain caused by osteoarthritis, affecting their ability to walk, climb stairs, and get in and out of chairs. Some people even have knee pain at rest.
In determining if a knee replacement surgery is right for you, your orthopedic surgeon will consider your age, weight, activity level, knee size and shape, and overall health. He will also examine your knee to assess your range of motion, stability, and strength. X-rays may be ordered to help determine the extent of damage.
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is typically the result of wear and tear and progressive loss of articular cartilage. Knee osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is most common in the elderly.
Articular cartilage is the smooth coating that covers the surface of the bones inside the knee. It also cushions and helps lubricate the joint surfaces. In osteoarthritis, this coating is damaged, leading to reduced lubrication and cushioning. The articular cartilage begins to degrade, and over time it can thin or form cracks. Pieces of cartilage may come loose and float inside the knee, further irritating the joint. After a long period of time, the cartilage can become completely “worn away,” and the bones begin to rub together, causing considerable pain.
Eventually, osteoarthritis may lead to disability, as it is a progressive disease. Typically, clinical symptoms become more severe, more frequent, and more debilitating over time. The rate of progression and intensity of clinical symptoms varies for each individual.
Knee arthritis is a common problem that affects many patients. It is a degenerative condition that can be very painful and may limit your daily activities.
The knee joint is formed by the lower end of the femur (thighbone), the upper end of the tibia (shinbone), and the patella (kneecap). C-shaped wedges of tissue called menisci act as shock absorbers in the knee, and ligaments hold the joint together. The bones in the joint are covered with articular cartilage, a tissue that protects the bones and allows the joint to glide smoothly with movement.
Arthritis can damage the articular cartilage in the knee, either with wear and tear over time or due to inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Eventually, the cartilage can wear away completely in places, causing the bones to rub together. This condition can be very painful and limit knee function, making even simple movements like walking or bending difficult.
Eventually, arthritis damage can progress to the point that nonsurgical treatments are not effective in relieving pain. In these cases, our orthopedic surgeons may recommend knee replacement surgery.
Every osteoarthritic knee is different, and OrthoMed offers a team approach to treatment. While there is no known cure, knee replacement surgery is effective in reducing pain, controlling swelling, and helping patients maintain and improve mobility of the knee.
Depending on the location and severity of knee arthritis, different surgical options are available for knee replacement. Knee replacement surgery eliminates or reduces joint pain, increases mobility, and improves quality of life. At OrthoMed Center, our orthopedic surgeons have expertise in total knee replacement and partial knee replacement procedures.
If your arthritis is limited to only one side of the knee, partial knee replacement may be an option. During a partial knee replacement, only the damaged side of the knee is replaced with prosthetics, and the healthy bone remains. Partial knee replacement also allows for quicker recovery times and less pain in recovery when compared to a total knee replacement.
If arthritis damage is not limited to only one part of the knee, total knee replacement is likely the best option to improve knee function.
Knee replacement surgery involves removing the damaged portions of the knee and replacing them with prosthetic components. The damaged bone is replaced with metal implants, and a medical-grade plastic spacer is inserted between the metal implants to allow the new knee to glide with movement.
For many patients with severe knee arthritis, this is a very successful procedure that effectively reduces knee pain and improves function.
Most knee replacement procedures require a hospital stay of 1-3 days. Patients start physical therapy as soon as possible after surgery, as this is a critical part of recovery to strengthen the knee and restore motion.
Most patients can resume their normal activities within 3 weeks of surgery, and full recovery is generally about 6 weeks.
The risks associated with knee replacement surgery may include:
- Infection in the Joint
- Blood Clots
- Implant Problems (e.g., loosening)
- Nerve Injuries
If after surgery you experience any of these problems, be sure to contact your surgeon immediately.
To reduce the risk of infections and blood clots, we use antibiotics and blood thinners. We also take precautions in the operating room to reduce the risk of infections.
As a patient, there are also things you can do to reduce your risk of infections, including losing weight, quitting smoking, and controlling your blood sugar. If you need help in any of these areas, talk to your surgeon. There are resources available to help you.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 90% of patients who undergo knee replacement surgery experience dramatic relief of knee pain and a significant improvement in performing everyday activities.
Patients should also be aware that total knee replacement does not allow them to do more than before they developed arthritis. Your surgeon will advise against high-impact activities such as running, jogging, jumping, or other high-impact sports, as excessive activity may speed up the normal wear of the implants.
At OrthoMed Center, our knee replacement surgeons are board-certified by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and they have extensive training in adult arthritis and joint replacement surgery. Their practice focuses on personalized care for patients of all ages seeking to reduce pain, improve function and return to active lifestyles.
If you are interested in discussing knee replacement surgery options with one of our orthopedic surgeons, call OrthoMed at (209) 524-4438
, or you may request an appointment