What Is Total Knee Replacement Surgery?


Quick Answer

Total knee replacement surgery, also called an arthroplasty, is for people who have severely damaged knees. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, in total knee replacement surgery, a surgeon removes the damaged tissues, bone and cartilage from the knee joints and replaces them with man-made plastic and metal materials. Knee replacement is major surgery, and it can cause blot clots, scarring and sometimes infections.

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What Is Total Knee Replacement Surgery?
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Full Answer

Surgeons sometimes perform partial knee replacements if the whole structure of the knee is not damaged. In a partial knee replacement, only one part of the knee joint is replaced, says the Library of Medicine. The site explains that after any knee replacement surgery, activities such as playing high-impact sports or jogging are not possible. Doctors may recommend knee replacement surgery if knee pain is severe and cannot be relieved with pain medication or other nonsurgical remedies.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons lists the four basic steps involved in knee replacement surgery. First, cartilage covering the femur and tibia bones, as well as a small amount of the bone underneath, is removed. Then, the metal implants are put into place. Optionally, the underside of the kneecap is cut and resurfaced with a plastic button. Finally, spacer material is placed in between the metal components to help create smooth and gliding movements of the metal surfaces.

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