Pacific Rim Orthopedic Surgeons

Knee Joint Replacement

Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty or knee joint replacement surgery is a common procedure that is highly effective at pain and stiffness reduction in the knee. Two types of knee replacement surgery aim to restore motion and use of the knee without pain caused by injury or arthritis.

What is Knee Joint Replacement Surgery?

Knee replacement surgery removes diseased or damaged parts of the knee joint before replacing them with either metal or plastic implants (prostheses). Patients who suffer from arthritis in the knee are likely to be recommended the procedure as are others who suffer from:

  • Pain in the knee
  • Stiffness that makes everyday activities, such as walking up and down stairs or getting in and out of the car, difficult
  • Swelling and inflammation that doesn’t fade with rest or medication
  • The knee presenting as deformed, looking shaped oddly

Types of Arthritis that normally result in Knee Joint Replacement Surgery:

  • Osteoarthritis: age-related wear and tear arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: a disease that is also known as “inflammatory arthritis” where chronic inflammation has caused damage to the cartilage.
  • Posttraumatic arthritis: resulting from a serious knee injury
an elderly man getting his knee checked by a doctor.

For a patient to know whether or not knee replacement surgery is the best course of action, they must meet with an orthopedic doctor and surgeon. To diagnose the problem and determine if knee arthroplasty is recommended, they will:

  • ask about your symptoms, how severe the symptoms are, and how long they’ve been present.
  • Discuss your medical history
  • Examine the knee’s motion, strength, and stability
  • Likely order X-rays of your knee to see the amount of damage the knee has suffered.

Partial Knee vs. Total Knee Replacement

As mentioned earlier, there are two forms of knee replacement surgery:

Total Knee Replacement

The entirety of the knee, the medial, lateral, and under the kneecap, are replaced with a prosthesis (implant).

Partial Knee Joint Replacement

Only one section of the knee needs replacement with an implant.

Doctor demonstrating knee replacement surgery

Knee Surgery: Replacement Procedure Steps

Prior to knee arthroplasty, the healthcare team will recommend avoiding specific medications and supplements for a specific period of time before the operation. The team will also instruct you to not eat anything after midnight on the day of the surgery. Before the surgery, the patient will be given either a spinal block, which numbs the lower half of the body, or a general anesthetic to induce a sleep-like state.

Knee arthroplasty usually takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete and the steps involved in the procedure are:

  1. an incision is made in the knee area
  2. any damaged cartilage and bone are removed
  3. the knee implant is placed and properly positioned
  4. the implant is secured using special bone cement or another device
  5. a plastic (polyethylene) piece is placed to create a smooth and gliding surface between the metal parts of the implant
  6. the incision is closed

Most knee replacement patients are able to go home the same day as the surgery, depending on their care needs. The orthopedic surgeon will encourage you to move your foot and ankle to keep blood flowing to the leg and prevent clots. You may also be prescribed blood thinners and a support hose or compression boots to help prevent swelling and clotting after surgery. Before being discharged, the surgeon will discuss recommended protocols to encourage proper healing and recovery at home as well as a physical therapist to strengthen the knee and enable better healing.

Make an Appointment with our Orthopedic Surgeons

We at Proliance Pacific Rim Orthopedic Surgeons strive to help our patients achieve a return to normal activity through compassionate and exceptional care using evidence-based medicine in a patient-friendly environment. We are committed to bringing you a high standard of care that is patient-focused, with the goal of improving your quality of life.