Total Knee Replacement FAQs
Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure where the worn out surfaces of the knee are resurfaced with metal and plastic components. Over time, the cartilage that cushions the bones can wear away, cause pain and discomfort, and make simple pleasures like walking and shopping unbearable. Knee replacement can reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and get you back to normal life.
Knee replacement surgery may be considered for those suffering from arthritic knee pain that severely limits the activities of daily living. It is only recommended after careful examination and diagnosis of your particular joint problem, and only after more conservative measures such as exercise, physical therapy, and medications have proven ineffective.
There are many kinds and designs of knee implants available today, and no one design or type is best for every patient. Surgeons select the implant they believe is best for their patient’s needs based on a number of factors including age, activity level, the implant’s track record, and his or her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant. If you have specific questions regarding implants, your surgeon will be happy to answer them.
Even though knee replacement surgery is considered a successful procedure, it is major surgery, and as with any surgery, there are risks. Possible complications include:
- Blood clots in your leg veins
- Implant loosening
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Knee stiffness
Your surgeon and healthcare team will take great care to minimize the risk of these and other complications. Keep in mind that complications are relatively rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions.
Total knee replacement is recognized as one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In the United States, over 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year.1
Most patients opting for a total knee replacement found improvement in pain, functional status and an overall quality of life.2
1. AAOS website, http://orthoinfo.aaos. org/topic.cfm?topic=A00389, accessed June 2013
2. Hamilton D, Henderson GR, Gaston P, et al. Comparative outcomes of total hip and knee arthroplasty: a prospective cohort study. Postgrad Med J 2012;88:627–31
You will experience some discomfort after surgery, but be assured we will do everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible. Pain after surgery varies from person to person, and is not entirely predictable, but modern medications and improved anesthetic techniques greatly enhance our ability to control pain and discomfort after surgery.