Knee Replacement

Knee replacement is a surgical procedure that decreases pain and improves the quality of life in many patients with severe arthritis of the knees. Typically patients undergo this surgery after non-operative treatments have failed to provide relief of arthritic symptoms. Non-operative treatments can include activity modification, weight reduction, exercise and anti-inflammatory medications. The decision to undergo the total knee replacement is a "quality of life" choice.

Surgeons have performed knee replacements for over three decades with excellent results. During knee replacement surgery, the surgeon will resurface your damaged knee with artificial components, called implants. There are many different types of implants. The brand and design depends on many factors, including:

  • Your needs, based on your knee problem and knee anatomy, as well as your age, weight, activity level, and general health
  • The cost and performance record of the implant

Your surgeon will discuss with you the type of implant that will be used for your knee replacement surgery.

Broadly speaking there are two types of knee replacements:

  • Total knee replacements and
  • Minimally-invasive partial knee replacements

Both have long “track records” and good clinical results .

Total Knee Replacement

Traditional total knee replacement a hospital stay of 3-5 days, and a recovery period (during which the patient walks with a walker or cane) typically lasting from one to three months. The large majority of patients report complete relief of their arthritic symptoms once they have recovered from a total knee replacement and lead a quality life.

In total knee replacement, damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with metal components that recreate the surface of the joint.

Partial knee replacements have been around for decades and offer excellent clinical results, just like total knee replacements. Less invasive techniques are available to insert these smaller implants but only a minority of knee replacement patients (about 10%) are good candidates for this procedure.

Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows doctors to view the knee joint without making a large incision (cut) through the skin and other soft tissues. Arthroscopy is used to diagnose and treat a wide range of knee problems.

During knee arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your knee joint. The camera displays pictures on a video monitor, and your surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.

Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions, rather than the larger incision needed for open surgery. This results in less pain for patients, less joint stiffness, and often shortens the time it takes to recover and return to favorite activities.

Common arthroscopic procedures for the knee include:

  • Removal or repair of a torn meniscus
  • Reconstruction of a torn anterior and posterior cruciate ligament
  • Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
  • Trimming of damaged articular cartilage
  • Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
  • Treatment of patella (kneecap) problems
  • Treatment of knee sepsis (infection)

After surgery, you will be able to go home within 24 hours in almost all cases. Be sure to have someone with you to drive you home. While recovery from knee arthroscopy is faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions carefully after you return home.