What is involved in knee cap replacement surgery?


Quick Answer

Knee cap replacement surgery, also known as a patellofemoral replacement, involves removing and replacing worn down cartilage and bone surfaces with plastic or metal implants, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Bone cement holds the plastic or metal components in place.

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Full Answer

A knee cap replacement is a partial knee replacement, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. During the procedure, dome-like plastic implants or thin metallic shields cover the trochlear groove of the knee, enabling the bones to glide smoothly as the individual bends the knee.

Patients receive general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia prior to knee cap replacement surgery, according to WebMD. The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the knee and removes the damaged or worn down parts of the bone surfaces or cartilage. In some cases, patients may require full knee replacement in addition to knee cap replacement. This consists of inserting artificial joints to the thigh bone and shin with bone cement. The surrounding ligaments and muscles provide support and fit to the artificial parts to form the joint.

Individuals with a stiff or painful knee, osteoarthritis in the knee cap, or pain resulting from a knee injury are often candidates for a partial or full knee replacement, explains WebMD. People who have difficulty performing daily tasks that require walking and those who have tried nonsurgical treatments without success often opt for a knee cap or full knee replacement.

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