Knee arthritis is very common. After attempting to treat one’s arthritis with non-operative forms of treatment such as weight loss, medications, physical therapy, bracing, activity modification, assisted devices, and injections, the next step in treatment is typically surgery. Total knee replacement (or total knee arthroplasty) is one of the most successful orthopedic procedures of the twentieth century. This is due to the substantial pain relief and restoration of function a patient feels after surgery. Knee replacement procedures were first introduced in 1968 and since then vast improvements in surgical techniques and the materials used to reconstruct the knee have greatly increased its effectiveness. Current statistics show that over 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States.
During the operation, the surgeon moves your kneecap (patella) aside and cuts away damaged bone and cartilage, which are then replaced with metal and plastic components. The components combine to form a synthetic (but biologically compatible) joint that mimics the movement of your natural knee.
With newer implant designs and improved surgical techniques, patients are having less pain, faster return to function, and shorter hospital stays (many can even be done as an outpatient procedure). Total knee replacements can be expected to function well for over 20 years in about 80% of patients.
4 Signs you May Benefit From a Knee Replacement
The arthritic cartilage and underlying bone have been removed from the knee and resurfaced with metal implants on the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). A plastic spacer has been placed in between the metal implants. The undersurface of the patella is also cut and replaced with a piece of plastic.