Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement Procedures

It’s not surprising that knee replacement is the most common form of joint replacement in the United States. Knee injuries are common in both active and inactive people. Even without experiencing a knee injury, many people develop arthritis in their knees as they age.

Before deciding to have a knee replacement, most patients with knee pain try nonsurgical treatments, including medication, orthotics, injections, and arthroscopic knee surgery. If a person continues to experience chronic, debilitating knee pain, knee replacement may be their best option.

During knee replacement surgery, damaged cartilage and bone are removed and replaced with man-made prostheses. A specially formulated bone cement is used to secure the prostheses.

Depending on which areas of the knee are damaged, prostheses may be placed in up to three parts of the knee joint:

  • The femur, or lower end of the thigh bone
  • The tibia, the larger bone in the lower leg
  • The patella, or backside of the knee cap

Patient-Specific Knee Replacement

There are more than 150 knee replacement designs on the market today, made of various combinations of metal alloys, ceramic materials, and strong polyethylene plastic parts. But people also come in different sizes and shapes, and it is important that the surgeon pick the right prosthesis for each patient. That’s why our surgeons prefer to perform patient-specific knee replacements.

Using an MRI, a radiologist takes multiple precise pictures of the inside of the knee. The photos are combined to create a 3D model of the knee that reproduces its size, shape, and contour. Our knee replacement surgeons use this model to develop an exact prosthetic replica, specifically tailored to the individual patient’s anatomy.

Advantages

  • A better fitting prosthesis
  • Reduced risk of complications
  • Less operating time
  • Possibly less recovery time after surgery

Partial Knee Replacement

If only certain areas of cartilage are damaged, it may be possible to perform a partial, or "uni," knee replacement, in which only the affected portions of the knee are replaced. In order to be a good candidate for this procedure, the patient’s arthritis needs to be limited to one side of the knee.

Compared to total knee replacement, partial knee replacement usually causes less blood loss and postsurgical pain, and a faster recovery. Because the healthy parts of the knee are not removed, a partial knee replacement may bend better and feel “more natural.”