Surgeons consider design, materials, the amount of ligament damage, customization and partial versus total knee replacement when recommending a prosthetic knee, says Healthline. Other factors in choosing an artificial knee are a patient's activity level, age and individual anatomy.
The two basic types of knee prosthetic are mobile-bearing and fixed-bearing, explains Healthline. Mobile-bearing devices offer more range of motion and last longer, so they are sometimes selected for younger patients. Fixed-bearing devices are used in a majority of replacements, and they are appropriate for older patients who are less active. Materials are an important consideration because they must bond with bones and avoid causing an allergic reaction. Prosthetic components are typically made of titanium and polyethylene.
Depending on the condition of the ligament along the back of the knee, a surgeon may recommend a prosthetic that replaces the ligament or one that preserves it, notes Healthline. The amount of customization desired is another factor that may influence prosthetic choice. Some replacements come with individualized cutting guides, and some are designed for men or women. The majority of knee replacement procedures involve a total replacement, but a small percentage require only partial replacement, so prosthetic manufacturers make various devices for these. As of 2015, more than 150 prosthetic knees are available; although it's rare, sometimes a device is recalled, so knowing a manufacturer's success rate is important.