Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomeMust ReadWhat Does Knee Replacement Entail

What Does Knee Replacement Entail

Do You Meet The Criteria For A Knee Replacement

Are There Alternatives To Knee Replacement – Bone On Bone Arthritis

To qualify for a knee replacement, you need to meet two major requirements. One is that you have a significant amount of cartilage loss. This is usual evaluated by taking X-rays of the knee while you are in a standing position. The loss of cartilage is seen as narrowing of the space between the knee bones. The other is that the loss is bad enough that its having a negative impact on your quality of life due to pain, limited function or a combination of the two.

Usually by the time people come to one of the , they have tried everything else and are ready to have surgery.

What Is Recovery Like

You can start moving the knee the day of your surgery. Your knee function should return rapidly and with less pain than with total knee replacement. Youll work with a physical therapist to mobilize the knee while in the hospital and for two to four weeks after discharge. Youre usually discharged no later than one or two days after surgery.

Youll need medication to guard against formation of a blood clot while in the hospital and maybe for a period of time after youre discharged.

If all goes well, you should be back to full activity in about six to eight weeks. Impact exercises or jogging/running may not be recommended because the replacement includes a bearing surface that can wear. However, activities like tennis, skiing, and other sports are okay. This, of course, is why partial knee replacement is even being considered to return you to activities you enjoy.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/16/2020.


Will My Leg Be Longer Or Straighter After Surgery

No, this isnt the case with total knee replacements. Your surgeon will balance your knee replacement using ligaments, which do not change in length. There may be minor changes to the alignment of your knee joint making it appear straighter if you were previously out of alignment, but leg length will not change.

You May Like: Do Copper Braces Work

Is Partial Knee Replacement An Option

The knee is divided into three compartments:

  • the medial compartment
  • the lateral compartment
  • the patellofemoral compartment

If you have a problem in only one of the three compartments, you may be able to have what is called a partial knee replacement. Since only one area of the knee is resurfaced, recovery from partial knee replacement is faster. Because many patients have arthritis in more than one knee compartment, the majority of people who undergo knee replacement surgery about 90% need to have all three compartments resurfaced. This is called a total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty.

Why Might I Need A Total Knee Replacement


You might need a total knee replacement if you have significant damage to your knee joint. Different types of medical conditions can damage this joint, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Injury or fracture of the knee joint

  • Bone tumor in the knee joint

This damage might be very painful and limit your normal activities. The procedure may help decrease your pain, improve your joint mobility, and quality of life. Usually, healthcare providers only recommend total knee replacement when you still have significant problems after trying more conservative treatments, like pain medicines and corticosteroid shots .

Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of having minimally invasive total knee replacement instead of traditional total knee replacement. Minimally invasive total knee replacement uses a smaller incision than a traditional knee replacement, so it may lead to less pain and decreased recovery time. It is not yet clear whether the procedure leads to an increased risk of certain complications, though.

In some cases, you may have other surgical options, like shortening the bone or a partial knee replacement. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of all your options.

Recommended Reading: Why Do My Knees Crack When I Squat

Expected Range Of Motion

After knee replacement surgery, it is important to work with a physical therapist to achieve the maximal range of motion. Typically, the range of motion will progress quickly during the first three months and can continue to increase for up to two years following surgery.

Normal motion after knee replacement is defined as the ability to get within 5 degrees of a straight knee and the ability to bend the knee back to 90 degrees. Most knee replacements have movement ranging from 0 degrees to 110 degrees or more.

The optimal motion of the replaced knee can be achieved with a combination of stretches, exercises, and gradual resumption of normal activities. Some surgeons will recommend the use of a machine to bend the knee, called a CPM, .

What Is A Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement surgery is a common and effective procedure that can relieve pain and help you get back to your favorite everyday activities. Approximately one million hip and knee replacement surgeries are performed in the United States each year. The goal of the surgery is to replace arthritic joint surfaces in the knee with prosthetic components made of metal and plastic, allowing the joint to function properly again and ultimately relieving knee pain. These implants are highly trusted by orthopedic surgeons and have been perfected over many years.

Don’t Miss: How To Remove Scar Tissue From Knee Surgery

Who Might Need A Knee Replacement

Knee surgery may be suitable for patients who experience:

  • Severe knee pain or stiffness that prevents them from carrying out everyday tasks and activities, such as walking, going upstairs, getting in and out of cars, getting up from a chair
  • Moderate but continuous knee pain that continues while sleeping or resting
  • Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that does not improve after taking medications or resting
  • Knee deformity, where there is a noticeable arch on the inside or outside of the knee
  • Depression, resulting from an inability to carry out daily or social activities

If the other available treatment options have not worked, surgery may be the best option.

Total Knee Replacements Can Fail By A Number Of Mechanisms Says Orthopedic Surgeon David Fisher Md Director Of The Total Joint Center At The Indiana Orthopedic Hospital

How To Know If You Need A Total Knee Replacement

There are five chief reasons for a failed TKR. Unfortunately, the first one that Dr. Fisher mentions brings to mind the concept of surgeon error.

He states, In some cases, they were not implanted in a way that creates a well-functioning knee, and the patients are never happy with them. This is one of the more common causes of revision knee replacement.

Its deeply troubling that surgeon error cannot be proven, as the defense will blame the manufacturer of the hardware and/or loosening of the cement over time.

Dr. Fisher continues, Another common reason is an infection develops postoperatively and leads to a need for revision.

This may occur in 0.1-2% of knees and may be related to the volume of the operating surgeon and the hospital in which the surgery was performed.

Following knee replacement or revision surgery, patients will get their temperature taken as often as once every four hours, and this includes overnight, to check for signs of an infection.

Late infections can develop occasionally many years after implantation, says Dr. Fisher.

The first signs of an infection may be warmth and redness about the knee.

Loosening of the prosthesis rarely occurs in the first few years but can be a cause of late failure and will usually be associated with pain and swelling.

The final mechanism behind a failed TKR: Polyethylene wear can also occur many years after implantation and cause symptoms of pain and swelling.

Read Also: Can You Use An Inversion Table After Knee Replacement

What Can I Expect At Hss

Hospital for Special Surgery has been at the forefront of modern knee replacement since the operation was first introduced in the late 1960s. We have led the field ever since in a number of ways:

  • : HSS has been ranked the No. 1 hospital for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report for 11 years straight.
  • Along with high rankings in patient satisfaction, HSS performs the most knee replacements with the lowest reported infection rates in the United States.
  • Research and advancement: Smaller incisions, new implant materials and design, and sophisticated instrumentation have been â and continue to be â the areas of expertise of the hip and knee replacement surgeons of the HSS .
  • HSS routinely uses the latest surgical techniques and technology, such as robotic-assisted and computer-assisted surgery.
  • : Isolating the anesthesia to a particular body area helps avoid the potential problems that may accompany a general anesthetic. These techniques have been developed and refined by the HSS . Learn more about

What Is Making The Clicking Sound

Understanding something is often the first step to dealing with it, and knee replacement noises are no exception. The most likely cause of the clicking noise is the knee cap tapping on the new implant at the bast of the thigh-bone.

This type of tapping is typically most evident when walking at the point in your step where the knee begins to bend after being fully extended. It is also commonly heard when climbing up or down stairs.

X-Ray Image Of Total Knee Replacement

You May Like: Bathing After Knee Surgery

Knee Replacement Recovery Time And Recuperation

Total knee replacement surgery generally takes about 60 to 90 minutes, but you should expect to be in the operating room for over two hours. Rehabilitation will begin within 24 hours of surgery.

After your surgery, the nursing staff will position you in bed and help you turn until you are able to move on your own. You may have a pillow between your legs if ordered by your surgeon.

Very soon after surgery, a physical therapist will come to your room to teach you appropriate exercises and review your progress. Gentle exercises to improve your range of motion can help prevent circulation problems as well as strengthen your muscles.

Your rehabilitation program will begin as soon as you are medically stable and there are orders from your doctor to begin postoperative mobility. All patients begin rehabilitation within 24 hours of their surgery. Your motivation and participation in your physical therapy program is key to the success of your surgery and recovery. The physical therapist will assist you in the following activities:

  • sitting at bedside with your feet on the floor
  • transferring in and out of bed safely
  • walking with the aid of a device
  • climbing stairs with aid of a device

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery: When To Get A Knee Scope

What Does It Mean When Your Knee Cap Hurts

Knee arthroscopy sometimes called knee scoping is a minimally invasive medical procedure used on the knee joint to diagnose and treat knee conditions or injuries. Its performed using an arthroscope, which is a tiny surgical instrument with a light and camera at the end that is inserted into the knee.

A doctor may recommend knee scoping if a patient has a painful condition that is not responding to a nonsurgical treatment such as medication, cortisone injection or physical therapy. In particular, knee arthroscopy is often successful in helping reduce or eliminate pain associated with cartilage damage or soft tissue damage.

Many doctors and patients prefer knee scoping to other procedures. Thats because the orthopedic knee surgeon only needs to make a tiny incision to use the arthroscope. There is usually less knee pain, less joint stiffness and easier recovery than with other procedures.

When Knee Arthroscopy Is Performed

Knee arthroscopy can be used when making or confirming a diagnosis and performing surgery:

More on Knee Scope Surgery=

Unless a patient has another medical issue, knee arthroscopy may performed in an outpatient setting, so the patient will not need to stay overnight at a hospital.

Knee surgery using an arthroscope can take 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the extent of the damage. When using knee arthroscopy for diagnosis only, the time could be even shorter.

After Knee Surgery

Recommended Reading: Knee Pain When Lying Down

Other Forms Of Treatment

Without replacement surgery, a severely osteoarthritic knee joint may continue to deteriorate until it is impossible to go about your normal daily activities, such as standing up, walking or getting up from a seated position. Other forms of treatment include:

  • The use of walking aids, such as frames or walking sticks
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Other surgery, such as osteotomy an operation in which diseased bone is cut away in an attempt to properly align the malformed joint.

Medical Issues To Consider

Prior to the operation, you will need to discuss a range of issues with your doctor or surgeon, including:

  • Thorough assessment of your knee joint, which may include x-rays and other imaging techniques.
  • Your medical history. If you are elderly, you will need to undergo tests to make sure you are fit for the operation. These tests may include an electrocardiogram and blood tests.
  • Inform your doctor about any drugs you may be regularly taking, particularly drugs that affect the bloods ability to clot such as aspirin or Warfarin.
  • Your expectations you need to understand that although the prosthesis is sophisticated, it cant replicate the full function of a healthy knee joint.Possible complications of surgery will also be discussed.

Recommended Reading: Do Copper Knee Braces Really Work

What Type Of Therapy Is Needed After Knee Surgery

If youre struggling with arthritis of the knee and havent found relief from pain medication, massage therapy, or other treatment modalities, total knee replacement surgery may be worth considering. Also known as knee arthroplasty, total knee replacement is a surgical procedure used to replace the weight-bearing surfaces that make up the knee joint, which, in turn, alleviates debilitating knee pain and improves mobility. While total knee replacement surgery is effective, recovering from the procedure can be challenging.


Studies show that recovering from total knee replacement surgery can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. The best way to speed up the healing process is by working with a licensed physical therapist as they can guide you through a wide range of exercises, which are all designed to promote bone, muscle, and soft tissue healing.


During your initial consultation with a physical therapist, he or she will develop a treatment plan that will specifically address the problems you are experiencing after undergoing surgery. That said, most physical therapy sessions following total knee replacement surgery will include

In summation, total knee replacement surgery followed by physical therapy can go a long way toward allowing you to enjoy a life unencumbered by pain and restricted mobility.

Knee Replacement Surgery Isnt Typically Recommended If Youre Younger Than 50

Am I Too Heavy for Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery (elevated BMI)?

Recommendations for surgery are based on a patients level of pain and disability. Most patients who undergo a total knee replacement are age 50-80. This is because, knee replacements are not as durable as your own knee and eventually wear out. On average, a total knee replacement lasts about 15-20 years. So if you have the procedure in your 40s, youll likely need another or revision surgery later in life. Whats worse than having to go through another surgery, is that the second surgery is much harder than the first.

The goal of the second knee replacement surgery is the same as the first to relieve pain and improve function. However, revision surgery is a longer, more complex procedure that requires extensive planning, specialized implants and tools, prolonged operating times, and mastery of difficult surgical techniques. Youll also be older and less resilient when you need the second surgery which is why doctors dont usually recommend knee replacement for younger patients.

Read Also: Can Knee Cartilage Be Rebuilt

Immediately After The Operation

After the operation, you can expect:

  • Your knee is covered with a dressing and a drainage tube removes excess fluids from the wound.
  • You are monitored by nursing staff who regularly check your vital signs .
  • You are given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
  • You are given medications to thin your blood and reduce the risk of clots both during and after the operation.
  • Strong pain relief can be given via an epidural or drip.
  • You can start eating again on the second day after your operation.
  • Nurses encourage you to move your feet and bend your other leg as soon as you can this helps to reduce the risk of clot formation.
  • You are encouraged to walk around on the second day after surgery.
  • Physiotherapists show you how to perform knee exercises.
  • Occupational therapists advise you on how to best modify your home to make daily life easier during your recovery .
  • Knee replacement surgery without complications usually involves a seven to 10 day hospital stay.
  • Your stitches are removed about 10 days after surgery.

How Long Is The Recovery

All patients heal from surgery at their own pace. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to go back to your normal activities. Here are some guidelines:

  • Household chores: 3-6 weeks
  • Work: 4 weeks or more- depending on your job requirements
  • Swimming: 6-8 weeks
  • Driving: Before you can drive, will need to be off pain medicine and be abele to get in and out of the car. You may be able to start driving within 2 to 6 weeks–even if your driving leg was operated on.

Read Also: How To Remove Scar Tissue From Knee Surgery

What Happens After Total Knee Replacement

Talk with your healthcare provider about what you can expect after your surgery. You may have significant pain around your incision after your procedure, but pain medicines may help to relieve your pain. You should be able to get back to a normal diet fairly quickly.

You may get imaging, like an X-ray, to see the results of the surgery. You might be able to go home within a day or two.

Your provider will let you know when you can put weight on your leg. You may have specific instructions about limiting your movements. You might need to use a cane, walker, or crutches for a few days or weeks. A physical therapist can help you maintain your range of motion and strength. You should be able to go back to most light activities within a few weeks. During this time, you may find it helpful to have some extra help at home.

You might have some fluid draining at the incision site. This is normal. Let your provider know right away if you have an increase in redness, swelling, or draining at the incision site. You should also let your provider know if you have a high fever, chills, or severe pain that does not improve.

Make sure to keep all of your follow-up appointments with your surgeon. You may need to have your stitches or staples removed a week or so after your surgery.

Most people note a significant decrease in their pain following a total knee replacement. You may have some remaining stiffness in the joint, as well as more limited range of motion.


Popular Articles