Total Knee Replacement
The advent of newer surgical techniques, instrumentation and materials have helped made the outcome from total knee replacement surgery very successful. As our population continues to age, the rate at which knee replacement surgery is performed is expected to sharply increase.
The destruction of joint surfaces related to wear and tear, osteoarthritis, is the most common reason a knee replacement is performed. These joint changes lead to pain, stiffness, swelling and eventual loss of mobility.
Total knee replacement surgery is typically performed in patients over 50 year old although some younger patients also benefit from this type of procedure. The goal of the procedure to reduce pain and improve overall ability to walk and function. For patients who have arthritic wear limited to one specific area of the knee, a partial knee replacement may be recommended. For others who have wear in more than one area, a total knee replacement may be indicated.
The surgery involves making an incision over the front of the affected knee and removing the ends of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shim bone). After the joint is resurfaced, appropriately sized metal components (prosthesis) are placed into the joint. A thick piece of plastic, known as polyethylene, is placed between the metal to allow for smooth motion. The back of the patella (knee cap) may also be resurfaced. Newer techniques including the use of smaller incisions and the use of computer navigation have become more common.
This is complex procedure performed by a trained orthopaedic surgeon. This procedure is performed on an inpatient basis in a hospital setting. The normal hospital stay ranges from 2 to 4 days.
Total knee replacement surgery has a very high success rate. Better than 90% of patients who have had a knee replacement are satisfied with the outcome based on the medical literature.
Complications from this type of surgery are relatively low. Some of the potential complications include infection, blood clots, fracture to the surrounding bone, dislocation or loosening of the prosthesis and risks associated with anesthesia.