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Your knees do a lot for you every day. The knee joint is one of the most stressed joints in the body, absorbing shock from walking and running and holding your weight while standing. The knee needs at least 10 different muscles, plus bones, cartilage and ligaments, to work properly. Damage to the knee is common the older you get, especially if you are active in ways that put extra stress on the joint. Total knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) can relieve pain, give you back range of motion and have you back in the swing of things.
You might need a total knee replacement if most of the parts of your knee are worn out, injured or otherwise damaged from use or illness. If pain and mobility issues are interrupting your daily life, you might be a good candidate for this procedure. The most common reason for this surgery is to relieve pain and restore the knee’s ability to move as it should. You might be a candidate for total knee replacement surgery if you have:
If only part of the knee is damaged, doctors can sometimes repair that piece. This is called a partial knee replacement. If the entire joint needs to be replaced, the doctor can use artificial parts to replace the entire joint. This is a total knee replacement. There are benefits and drawbacks to both of these procedures, and your doctor will help you understand if a total or partial knee replacement is a better option for you.
This surgery replaces the damaged surfaces in your knee that are causing pain. At the lower end of the femur (thighbone), the bone is trimmed to fit a specially shaped metal implant. The upper end of the tibia (shinbone) is trimmed to accept a metal tray. A plastic bearing is fitted into this tray.
The implant parts are attached to the cut bone surfaces by the surgeon’s choice of bone cement or a noncement method called “bone ingrowth.” The majority of knee replacements generally are cemented into place.
The outer surface of the femur component is shaped to allow the kneecap (patella) to slide up and down in its groove. The surgeon may choose to retain the natural kneecap or resurface it.
The cruciate ligaments are bands of thick tissue inside the knee. They provide support to and stabilize the movement of the knee. In total knee replacement surgery, these can be kept or removed.
Knee replacement parts are made of different materials, including:
These materials are medical grade, which means they are safe to use in humans and last a long time.
Two surgical methods we use at Norton Orthopedic Institute include:
The CORI Surgical System, a robotics-assisted knee replacement surgery tool, combined with the widest selection of implants available, allows your surgeon to place the new joint with an alignment that more closely matches that of your healthy knee.
The system’s 3D digital modeling is used to develop a surgical plan customized to the patient’s anatomy. This means Norton Orthopedic Institute surgeons can perform the procedure more accurately than with traditional knee replacement surgery.
Norton Orthopedic Institute has extensive experience with the ROSA Knee System, another robotics-assisted knee replacement tool.
In addition to its superior precision, the system uses lower-radiation X-rays to create a 3D model of the existing anatomy so surgeons can plan specifics of the replacement ahead of time.
After you check in at the hospital, you’ll be asked to remove your clothes and put on a hospital gown. Then you’ll be given either a spinal block, which numbs the lower half of your body, or a general anesthetic, which puts you into a sleeplike state.
Your surgeon might also might inject a numbing medicine around nerves or in and around the joint to help block pain after your surgery.
During the procedure
Knee replacement surgery usually takes one to two hours. The surgeon will:
After the procedure
After surgery, you’ll rest in a recovery area for a short time. How long you stay in the hospital after surgery depends on your individual needs. Many people can go home the same day.
The risk of blood clots increases after knee replacement surgery. To prevent this complication, you may need to:
You’ll also likely be asked to do frequent breathing exercises and gradually increase your activity level. A physical therapist can show you how to exercise your new knee. After you leave the hospital, you’ll likely continue physical therapy either at home or in a clinic.
For most people, knee replacement provides pain relief, improved mobility and an overall better quality of life. Most knee replacements can be expected to last at least 15 to 20 years.
After recovery, you can engage in various low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, golfing or biking. But you should avoid higher-impact activities, such as jogging, and sports that involve contact or jumping. Talk to your health care team about ways to stay active after knee replacement.
This short online assessment will guide you on next steps for your knee or hip pain. Find out if it’s time to talk to one of our orthopedic specialists.
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