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A Step-by-Step Guide To Knee Replacement Surgery: Everything You Need To Know

A Step-by-Step Guide To Knee Replacement Surgery: Everything You Need To Know
A Step-by-Step Guide To Knee Replacement Surgery: Everything You Need To Know

If you’re considering knee replacement surgery then there are some things you need to know. Knee replacement surgery – also known as Arthroplasty – uses plastic and metallic parts to remake your knee joint and can be a real lifesaver for those suffering from severe arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic arthritis, osteoarthritis or a knee injury.

Temporary injuries and knee problems can often be overcome with therapy or medications, but more serious and long-term knee problems can sometimes require total or partial knee replacement surgery.

Anatomy of your knee

The knee is essentially made of two leg bones the tibia and femur attached by tendons, ligaments and muscles with cartilage to cushion the bones along with synovial fluid and capped by the kneecap or patella. The knee involves the quadriceps and the hamstrings. Needless to say, the knee is crucial in our day to day life – whether we’re bending, climbing, walking or doing any other daily task.

When is knee replacement surgery a solution?

Knee replacement surgery is a solution for those suffering severe and unbearable knee pain, and has a high rate of success. Most commonly the procedure is needed due to osteoarthritis where cartilage breaks down in the joints making it extremely painful to walk, bend, climb stairs or do any other daily tasks. The destabilized joint can literally collapse, leading to no cushioning between the bones and the pain is very severe, interrupting life and work in frustrating and discomforting ways. When physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine and cortisone or visco-supplementation injections, and other similar treatment options don’t work then knee replacement surgery may be necessary.

Knee surgery is best-suited for those who’ve been suffering from chronic knee pain or suffered a serious knee injury and whose doctor has assessed the need for a new knee. There are more than half a million knee surgeries done every year in the United States and most are for those over fifty-years-old, although younger patients may also require knee replacement surgery in some cases. Knee replacement surgery usually lasts for 20 years or more and negative reactions are relatively rare.

Success rate and risks

Knee replacement surgery is not risk-free and infection, swelling, bleeding or degeneration resulting in discomfort or numbness can occur, but the success rate is very high. During the surgery itself you’ll be under general anaesthesia and the surgeon will carefully remove your damaged knee joint and replace it with a synthetic knee. This is a cemented prosthesis that is joined to your bone. 

Recovery time

Recovery time from knee surgery generally lasts several weeks, during which time you will want someone to help you out around home and you may be given a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine as part of physical therapy during your recovery.

Whether you need a total knee replacement or a partial knee replacement, your physician will work to ensure you receive the care you need. Total replacement surgery takes one to three hours and completely replaces both parts of your knee joint, whereas partial replacement does not take as long for the surgery and just replaces one side of the knee joint, and can be the ideal solution to those whose knee only has a problem in one specific part of the joint but is otherwise doing fine.

Dr. Mahesh Bagwe is a leading physician at the Orthopedic Center of St. Louis. He has extensive experience with knee surgery and knee replacement surgery and is widely regarded as a leading industry expert who uses cutting edge technology when it comes to knee replacement surgery in St. Louis.

Reach out and contact Dr. Bagwe at the Orthopedic Center of St. Louis to find out more about the knee surgery options we offer.

  • Saint Louis University
  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • Center of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
  • SSM Health
  • Mercy