Knee surgery is designed to help relieve pain and allow patients to be more active. Your physician may recommend replacement surgery if you have chronic knee pain caused by arthritis or injury.
The knee is the largest joint in the body and having healthy knees is required to perform most everyday activities. In addition to bending and straightening, your knee also rotates. It should glide smoothly while remaining well aligned and stable, allowing you to walk and perform daily activities.
The knee is made up of the lower end of the thighbone (femur), the upper end of the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella). The ends of where these three bones touch are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth substance that protects the bones and enables them to move easily.
Large ligaments hold the femur and tibia together and provide stability. The thigh muscles give the knee strength.
All remaining surfaces of the knee are covered by a thin lining called the synovial membrane. This membrane releases a fluid that lubricates the cartilage, reducing friction in a healthy knee. Normally, all of these components work in harmony. But disease or injury can disrupt this harmony, resulting in pain, muscle weakness and reduced function.
Complete Knee Replacement
In this procedure, damaged cartilage and bone is removed from the surface of your knee joints at both the femur and tibia bones. New metal surfaces are placed onto the bones and a piece of specialized plastic fits in between, allowing the knee to bend smoothly.
Partial Knee Replacement
If you have arthritis in only one part of the knee, then that is the only part that the surgeon will replace.
A revision may be necessary if the plastic between the metal portions of the replacement wears out; the replacement is damaged or becomes loose, or needs adjustment. Pre-surgical exams usually give surgeons an excellent idea of what is wrong with the knee so they know what they will need to replace.