Knee Replacement Surgery is a surgical treatment that replaces a severely damaged knee joint with an artificial prosthesis. This type of surgery is often recommended to people with painful conditions of the knee that have not responded to more conservative nonsurgical treatments. Osteoarthritis, also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common reason for knee replacement surgery.
Other conditions successfully treated include rheumatoid arthritis, post-injury arthritis, fractures, torn cartilage and ligaments, as well as other rare, destructive joint diseases. All of these problems can lead to irreversible damage to the knee joint that can only be repaired with surgery. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that more than 542,000 people undergo knee replacement surgery (known as arthroplasty) each year.
Types of Knee Replacement Surgery
Depending on the severity and extent of degeneration of the knee joint, the orthopaedic surgeon may perform total or partial (unicompartmental) knee replacement. Total knee replacement surgery replaces the whole knee joint. Partial knee replacement surgery replaces either the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) parts of the knee.
The surgeon may perform open surgery or arthroscopic surgery. Open surgery is the traditional approach of making one 8-to-10-inch incision. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive approach that makes two or more small incisions (each 4 to 6 inches long). Into one of the incisions, the surgeon inserts a pencil-thin instrument that contains a light, a system of lenses and a video camera. The camera sends clear images to a display monitor by the operating table to guide the surgeon's actions. Special thin surgical instruments are inserted into one or more of the other incisions. The benefits of a minimally invasive procedure for the patient are less bleeding, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and a better-looking scar.
After removing damaged bone and tissue, the surgeon implants the metal and plastic prosthesis which consists of three components:
Technological Advances in Knee Replacement Surgery
Innovations in the prosthetic devices or implants have led to recent breakthroughs including:
Conditions Treated with Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), many patients are able to walk without a cane or walker within 3-4 weeks after surgery. You will need physical therapy for 4-6 months. Most forms of exercise are okay after surgery, including walking, swimming and biking. High-impact activities such as jogging should be avoided.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Joint Replacement Services in New York performs knee replacement surgery as well as a broad range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments for conditions that affect the joints and connective tissues.
The Rehabilitation Network of the North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to providing you and your family with result-oriented, comprehensive rehabilitation services. Our goal is to help you and your loved ones find relief from pain and get moving again after an accident, illness, injury or surgery. We’re your partner in a safe, healthy, more rapid recovery.