A kneecap replacement, known as a patellofemoral arthroplasty, is not the same as a total knee replacement. Patellofemoral arthroplasties are much less extensive surgeries than total knee replacements, and patients who undergo this procedure are typically able to resume normal activities shortly after surgery, explains the Joint Preservation Institute.
Patellofemoral arthroplasties are performed on patients who are experiencing significant pain and cartilage damage to the front part of the knee, but they do not have arthritic changes or pain within other portions of the knee joint, according to Meriter-UnityPoint Health. During the procedure, the doctor resurfaces the back of the kneecap and part of the end of the thighbone so that the knee is once again able to function without pain. Although many patients do experience some pain and discomfort immediately after surgery, most find they are able to perform many sports, tasks and activities without pain after fully recovering from the procedure.