Orthopedics and Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery is a joint replacement procedure performed by orthopedic surgeons to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis or injury. During knee replacement, a surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage from the thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap and replaces it with a metal or plastic implant to recreate the surface of the joint.

Artificial knee implants consist of three components:

  • The tibial component is a flat metal platform that attaches to the top of the tibia bone. This provides a surface for the femoral component to glide on.
  • The femoral component is a curved piece made of metal alloy or very hard plastic that caps the end of the femur bone. Its smooth surface mimics the rounded end of the femur and the underside glides on the tibial component.
  • A plastic spacer is inserted between the tibial and femoral components to provide a smooth gliding surface. The patellar component is a dome-shaped disk that caps the back of the kneecap.

During this orthopedic surgery, the damaged cartilage and bone are removed with small cutting guides to shape the bone precisely for the implant. The femoral and tibial components are tested to achieve optimal fit and positioning. After the joint is aligned and stabilized, the surgical incision is closed with stitches or staples.

The joint replacement procedure takes 1-2 hours under general or spinal anesthesia. Most patients are able to walk with support the day after surgery. Post-surgical hospital stay is typically 1-3 days followed by progressive physical therapy. With a dedication to rehabilitation, most people experience dramatically reduced pain, renewed mobility, and better quality of life.

Knee replacement is generally very effective at relieving arthritis pain and restoring function. Implants can last 15-20 years in most patients. Candidates for knee replacement include:

  • Those with chronic, debilitating knee arthritis pain
  • People whose arthritis pain persists despite nonsurgical treatment
  • Patients with significant loss of cartilage and damage to knee bones
  • Those with severe stiffness, swelling, or deformity in the joint

Talk to your orthopedic surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate for knee replacement surgery. Though a major procedure, the vast majority of patients gain substantial pain relief and renewed vigor to participate in daily activities. With advanced techniques and rigorous quality standards, our surgeons achieve excellent outcomes so you can get back on your feet and enjoy life again!