What is Total Knee Replacement Operations?
A total knee replacement is a prosthesis that is used to replace a knee joint that is affected by arthritis. It consistents of several components:
- An upper metal femoral component that is shaped and sized to fit the contour of the end of the femur bone. A metal tibial component which is flat and has a small stem attached to the undersurface of it. It sits on top of the tibia on the opposing side of the knee joint. Both metals femoral and tibial components are made of metal alloys, comprising of cobalt-chrome or titanium. They are both fixed to the bone with a special polymer called “bone cement”. A plastic insert (“polyethylene insert”)which locks into the tibial component sitting on it’s upper surface. The plastic liner is the bearing for which the femoral component moves against. The plastic is made of a special polymer call polyethylene which has been carefully manufactured to allow it last a long time with out wearing out. However, even with the latest manufacturing techniques, this still is similar to your articular cartilage in that it has a limited lifespan, and excessive forces are placed on it, it will wear out more quickly.
- A patellar button which resurfaces the back of your knee cap. This is also made of polyethylene. It is not crucial that this is replaced all the time, and it is at the discretion of your surgeon on whether it is in your best interests to have this performed as well
When is a Total Knee Replacement helpful?
The most important reason for surgery is pain that is interfering with your quality of life and is not adequately controlled by other means (medication, injections, physiotherapy, activity modifications etc). This is a very individual decision and depends on your social requirements and activity demands.
What about minimally invasive surgery (MIS)?
Depending on the size of your knee, the degree of arthritis and deformity, and the amount of preoperative stiffness, you may be a candidate for Minimal Invasive Surgery. This technique minimizes surgical trauma to the quadriceps tendon and allows for faster recovery of strength, improved mobility in the first few weeks and sometimes less pain. Your surgeon will discuss the knee replacement operations with you during your initial consultation.
Read more about Minimal Invasive Knee Replacement surgery