Knee Replacement 

What is knee replacement surgery?

Is total knee replacement surgery for you?

If you are considering knee replacement surgery, you have plenty of company. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States.1

Even better news is that the US Department of Health and Human services considers total knee replacement to be one of the most successful and cost effective interventions in medicine. In fact, the success rate for knee replacements 10 years after surgery is 90-95%.1

This surgery is intended for people with severe knee damage, due to injury or to arthritis-related deterioration of the joint. Knee replacement can relieve pain and allow you to be more active. Your doctor may recommend it if you have persistent knee pain, and medicine and other treatments are not helping you anymore.

The decision to have knee replacement surgery should be a cooperative one made by you, your family, your primary care doctor, and your orthopaedic surgeon. The process of making this decision typically begins with a referral by your primary care doctor to an orthopaedic surgeon for an initial evaluation.

How is knee replacement surgery performed?

During knee replacement surgery, the surgeon surgically removes the damaged bone and cartilage of the joint and replaces it with smooth, artificial implants - thereby eliminating painful bone-on-bone contact.

Almost all knee replacement implants consist of a four-part system:

  • The tibial (shin) side has two elements and replaces the top of the shin bone. This portion of the implant is made up of a metal tray attached directly to the bone and a plastic spacer that provides the lower half of the new joint's bearing surface
  • The femoral (thigh bone) side is a single element that replaces the bottom of the thigh bone and provides the top half of the new joint's bearing surface. This component also replaces the groove where the patella, or kneecap, sits
  • Finally, the patellar component replaces the surface of the kneecap, which rubs against the femur. The patella protects the joint, and the newly resurfaced patellar button will slide smoothly on the front of the joint

References

  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website, accessed March 7, 2017: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00389

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 Smith & Nephew, All Rights Reserved.

When is knee replacement surgery recommended?

What is the right age for total knee surgery?

Your surgeon's recommendation for knee replacement is based mainly on your level of pain and disability; there are no absolute restrictions on age or weight. Most of the people who have knee replacement surgery are between the ages of 50 and 80. The procedure has a high success rate and is considered relatively safe and effective.1 Women are more likely to undergo the procedure; in 2009, the rate of knee arthroplasty for female patients was 57 percent higher than for males2.

How do I know when it's time to consider surgery?

There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery.

People who benefit from knee replacement surgery often have:

  • Knee pain that limits everyday activities, such as walking or bending
  • Knee pain that continues while resting, either day or night
  • Stiffness in a knee that limits the ability to move or bend the leg
  • Inadequate pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, or walking supports

Important safety notes

Individual results of joint replacement vary. Implants are intended to relieve knee pain and improve function, but may not produce the same feel or function as your original knee. There are potential risks with knee replacement surgery such as loosening, wear and infection that may result in the need for additional surgery. Patients should not perform high impact activities such as running and jumping unless their surgeon tells them that the bone has healed and these activities are acceptable. Early device failure, breakage or loosening may occur if a surgeon's limitations on activity level are not followed.

References

  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website, accessed March 7, 2017: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00389
  2. HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2009. Accessed March 7, 2017: https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/factsandfigures/2009/TOC_2009.jsp

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2020 Smith & Nephew, All Rights Reserved.

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