What Is a Total Knee Replacement?

A total knee replacement is a surgical procedure where diseased knee joints are replaced by artificial material. Patients with progressive pain and limited function from severe knee joint destruction are ideal candidates for the procedure, most common among individuals 50 years of age and older with osteoarthritis, cites WebMD.

In he procedure, the end of the femur is replaced with a metal shell, while the end of the tibia is replaced with a channeled plastic piece bearing a metal stem, according to MedicineNet. Depending on the condition of the kneecap, a plastic "button" may also be added under the surface of the kneecap.

The majority of patients who receive total knee replacements see dramatic improvement in the function of their joint; complete rehabilitation requires physical therapy.