A total knee replacement, more formally known as multicompartmental knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that removes damaged cartilage and resurfaces the bones in the knee joint. The back of the knee cap (patella) may or may not be included in the procedure. During this surgery, a surgeon removes all or part of an arthritic knee joint and replaces it with metal and plastic parts called prosthetics. These artificial structures accurately recreate the natural motions of a healthy knee joint, while also relieving pain and improving overall joint function.
Did You Know?
A total knee replacement replaces a worn knee joint, which can be equated to replacing worn tires with new tires. Currently, this is one of the most effective ways to treat severe knee arthritis.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I a candidate for a total knee replacement?
Total knee replacements are an appropriate treatment for people who have significant arthritis or pain in the knee and who are no longer experiencing adequate relief from non-surgical treatment options. Total knee replacement can be used to provide relief from primary osteoarthritis, secondary osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, failed prior knee surgery, arthritis secondary to ochronosis, gout, pseudogout, Paget’s disease, certain tumors of the knee, and, in some instances, infection. To determine if you are an ideal candidate for a total knee replacement, schedule a consultation with Dearborn & Associates–the best knee replacement providers in the Bay Area.
How are total knee replacements performed?
At Dearborn & Associates, your total knee replacement will be performed under general anesthesia and will usually take about 1-2 hours. There are three main steps to a partial knee replacement:
- Your surgeon will make an incision in the knee
- They will resurface the joint surfaces by first removing the damaged cartilage and a small amount of bone from within the entire knee joint.
- They will then place a plastic bearing surface over a titanium piece that is fixed onto the top of the tibia using bone cement. Next, this process is repeated on the lower end of the femur. The bone cement hardens within 10 minutes, securing the implants in place.
What can I expect during recovery?
After your operation, you can expect to spend about an hour in the recovery room. You will then be transferred to a private room in our quarantined unit. Within a few hours, one of our physical therapists will have you up and moving as they show you post-operative exercises and techniques for everyday tasks. At this point, which is about 4-5 hours after surgery, most patients can expect to be discharged. In some cases, an overnight stay may be required.
During your recovery process, medical assistive equipment such as a cane, walker, or crutches may be needed. You may also desire a cooling unit to help with postoperative discomfort. You can expect to have a physical therapist come to your house to assist you with an exercise program to promote proper healing. Follow up visits are also usually scheduled at the two week, six week, and three month marks.
In most cases, you should be able to walk independently as soon as 2-3 weeks after surgery. At the 6 week mark, you will be able to resume most of your regular activities. Your doctor will let you know if you have any restrictions at this point.
Total Knee Replacement
This pamphlet describes knee replacement surgery in detail, including the potential risks and complications. It is required reading for my knee patients prior to surgery and has a section on minimally invasive knee replacement.