CNY Orthopedic Sports Medicine, PC: Injury: Total Knee Replacement

Injuries and Conditions: Knee: Total Knee Replacement

A total knee replacement is usually recommended for patients that have severe degenerative joint disease, resulting in debilitating pain and restricted mobility. The knee replacement procedure resembles the placing of a cap on a tooth, resurfacing the points on the bones that come in contact with each other by using a metal alloy and high-grade plastic to replace the degenerated cartilage and joint.
  • A knee replacement is usually only performed after other treatments have begun to lose effectiveness. Typically, the knee replacement procedure is recommended for patients over 55 years of age.
  • The replaced knee will usually greatly reduce pain and stiffness in the joint, and will generally last between 10 and 15 years.
  • Surgery removes the damaged joint surfaces, capping the contact points of the upper and lower leg bone with a metal alloy and replacing the underside of the kneecap with a polyethylene (plastic) implant.

  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Severe osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease or continual discomfort and pain throughout the entire knee.
  • Knee pain that can no longer be managed through other treatments; pain while using the leg in normal activities, particularly intense pain while climbing or descending stairs or during movements that place additional stress on the knee.
  • Discomfort or pain after sitting or keeping the knee motionless for an extended period of time.
  • Stiffness, which increases after the knee has remained motionless.

  • Contact the Doctor if ...
  • The patient has signs and symptoms of severe osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease.
  • The patient experiences increasing pain or weakness in the joint after treatment.
  • The patient experiences unexplained symptoms, other types of pain, or unexpected side effects of medication.

  • Common Causes of Injury
  • Degenerative arthritis of the knee joint generally occurs in older adults that have worn away cartilage after many years of use.
  • A total knee replacement may be required for patients that have suffered repeated trauma and damage to the joint, causing pain and severe injury to the cartilage. This condition is known as post-traumatic arthritis.

  • Expectations of Recovery
  • Knee replacement surgery usually requires a hospital stay of three to five days.
  • Rehabilitation will usually require the use of crutches or a walker for four to six weeks.
  • After three months, the knee will likely allow a return to moderate athletic activity such as bicycling, golf and swimming.
  • To help maintain the replaced knee, continued gentle use of the knee joint will be required. Running or other pounding and shock producing activities are not recommended.
  • After 15 or more years, should the implants become loose, a second surgery may be required to reattach the implants.


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