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Partial or total knee replacement can relieve painpainAn unpleasant sensation associated with actual or potential tissue damage, and mediated by specific nerve fibe... and increase mobility. Knee replacement can help people get back to everyday life, such as climbing stairs, tying shoes, and getting up from a chair with less pain. It can also allow them to resume work.
This operation resurfaces the damaged jointjointThe junction or articulation of two or more bones that permits varying degrees of motion between the bones. with metal and plastic implants. Today, the doctor can choose from a wide variety of designs that take into account the patient‘s age, weight, activity level and overall health. Most artificial knee joints attempt to replicate the knee‘s natural ability to roll and glide as it bends.
Early diagnosis of knee osteoarthritisosteoarthritisArthritis characterized by erosion of articular cartilage, either primary or secondary to trauma or other cond... (OA) with proper treatment is important for the future of long-term mobility.1 If the doctor has recommended a knee replacement, it is important not to delay surgerysurgeryThe branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease, injury, and deformity by operation or manipula.... Delaying surgery can lower the patient‘s quality of life even more than OA does on its own, both before and for up to two years after surgery!2 Remember, there is no cure for OA and it is degenerativedegenerativeThe lesion results from inter-segmental instability of long duration., which means that pain and limited mobility will get worse over time.3
The worn surfaces at the end of the thighbone are removed using special instruments during knee replacement surgery. The boneboneThe hard tissue that provides structural support to the body. It is primarily composed of hydroxyapatite cryst... is then shaped to prepare for a new covering.
The top of the shinbone (tibia) is prepared in a similar way. The worn surface is removed and a new metal tray is placed on top of the remaining bone. This tray holds a hard plastic spacer that will become the new shock absorber between the smooth metal coverings. The doctor may also replace the back of the kneecap with a new plastic surface. These components can be fixed to the bone by either using bone cement or a "press fit" allowing the bone to grow into the coating on the prosthesisprosthesisManufactured substitute for a diseased or missing part of the body.. The doctor will typically decide which type of fixation to use based on numerous factors including age, activity level, bone quality and other associated medical conditions.
Near the end of the surgery, the doctor will secure the new knee. When the implant is in position and all of the supporting muscles and ligaments are working well, the doctor closes the incisionincisionA cut or surgical wound. with stitches or staples.
When their surgery is over, patients will be taken to the recovery room. Generally, they can expect to be moved to their regular room within one to three hours after surgery.
The performance of knee replacements depends on age, weight, activity level, and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitationrehabilitationRestoration, following disease, illness, or injury, of the ability to function in a normal or near-normal mann... should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell if knee replacement is right for a patient.
1 Fortin PR, Clarke AE, Joseph L, et al. Outcomes of Total Hip and Knee Replacement. ArthritisArthritisInflammation of a joint or joints resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness. & Rheumatism. 1999;42(8):1722-1728.
2 Fortin PR, Penrod JR, Clarke AE, et al. Timing of Total Joint ReplacementTotal Joint ReplacementRepair of a damaged joint by replacing with a synthetic joint implant, made of either plastic, ceramic, titani... Affects Clinical Outcomes Among Patients With OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritisArthritis characterized by erosion of articular cartilage, more common in older people. of the Hip or Knee. Arthritis & Rheumatism. 2002;46(12):3327-3330.
3 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritisArthritis typically with onset during middle or old age that is characterized by degenerative (gradual deterio.... Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/fact/thr_report.cfm?Thread_ID=365&topcategory=.... Accessed January 14, 2009.