The knee is one of the most easily injured joints in the human body. Knee problems can be caused by a number of factors, including arthritis, traumatic injury, the natural aging process, and general wear-and-tear.
Knee replacement surgery is now one of the most frequently performed joint replacement procedures, with around 700,000 being performed each year in the United States. Knee surgery is performed most often to repair damage and heal pain caused by knee arthritis.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee not only supports the weight of your body, but it is also responsible for movement and walking. It is made up of bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
The thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella) make up the bones of the knee, and the knee joint keeps these bones in place so it functions correctly. Ligaments are the strap-like tissues that surround these bones and connect them to each other to keep the knee steady, and tendons attach the muscles to the bones.
Knee injuries are not always just to the bones, but also to the ligaments, tendons, or cartilage. Symptoms of a knee injury or problem include pain, inability to put weight on your knee, stiffness, instability, swelling, and sometimes bruising.
Types of Knee Surgeries
Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, involves the surgical replacement of all or part of the knee joint with artificial (prosthetic) parts, depending on the extent of the damage in your knee. Knee surgery can now be performed in a minimally invasive manner, which helps to reduce post-operative pain and recovery time, and this can even be offered on an outpatient basis.
There are a number of different types of knee replacement surgeries and procedures available. Knee surgery is usually only recommended if other treatments (injections, medication, and physical therapy) have not worked.
The main types of knee replacement surgery are the following:
Partial Knee Replacement
When an injury or arthritis affects only one part or section of the knee, a partial knee replacement may be recommended by your surgeon. A partial knee replacement is usually carried out as an outpatient procedure, meaning an overnight hospital stay can be avoided.
The procedure is performed under anesthesia. Your doctor will remove the damaged bone and cartilage from your knee, leaving the healthy tissue alone.
Because a partial knee replacement is done through smaller incisions, the tissues heal more quickly than in total knee replacement surgery. Most patients are able to put weight on their knee soon after surgery, but you will use a walker, cane, or crutches while you get used to using your new knee.
Recovery can take a few weeks, but many people who have a partial knee replacement recover more quickly, have a shorter healing time, lose less blood during surgery, and have less pain than patients who have a total knee replacement.
Total Knee Replacement
A total knee replacement involves removing the damaged joint completely and replacing it with artificial parts. This will most likely be an in-patient procedure, which can mean staying in the hospital for multiple days so your doctor can keep an eye on how your knee is healing.
In this operation, your surgeon will remove the damaged bone, cartilage, and connective tissue, and will replace the entire knee joint with an artificial joint made of metals and plastics. The bottom of your thighbone and the top of your shinbone will be removed, as will the kneecap and the connective and supportive tissues, and they will all be replaced by prosthetic parts.
Exercising the new knee is very important and will begin soon after surgery, with physical therapy usually the following day. A walker or crutches will be required initially while standing and walking. Recovery is much slower than with a partial knee replacement, and there are risks involved such as blood clots, chronic knee pain, and nerve damage.
Robotic Partial Knee Replacement
Robotic partial knee replacement is a similar procedure to a partial knee replacement but employs MAKOplasty instead of manual surgery. MAKOplasty is robotic surgery which first involves CT scanning to allow the surgeon to build a virtual model of the patient’s knee.
Pre-surgical planning ensures the correct sizing and positioning of the implant. With the help of computer guidance, the surgeon uses a robotic arm to control certain aspects of the surgery for maximum precision.
Benefits of using this kind of surgery include the potential to speed up the recovery as compared to a standard procedure, due to it being individually tailored to the patient – making it a more accurate and precise method. This also means there is less risk of trauma, because robotic assistance allows increased maneuverability in tight spaces.
Osteotomy Knee Surgery
An osteotomy is a procedure where one of the bones (tibia or femur) is reshaped to relieve pressure on the knee joint. This procedure is used mainly for patients suffering with early-stage arthritis that has caused damage to just one part of the knee joint.
An osteotomy can relieve pain and significantly improve movement and function of the knee. Patients can normally go home within two days after this procedure, and crutches will be required while you heal.
Knee Revision Surgery
If you already have a prosthetic knee from a previous knee replacement surgery but are experiencing pain and/or disability again, you may need to have knee revision surgery to get new prosthetic materials. Modern implants are designed to last for many years, but it can wear out and require replacing.
This can be a complex procedure, because the surgeon must remove the parts of the existing implant which over time will have fused into the natural bone. There is therefore less bone remaining to support the new prosthesis. A bone graft may be required to help support the new prosthesis and encourage new bone growth.
Orthopedic Surgeons in North Dakota
If you have knee problems and want to explore whether knee replacement surgery is right for you, contact us at The Bone & Joint Center. Our expert team has substantial experience treating all types of orthopedic conditions, including knee pain, and we can diagnose your condition and advise you on the best type of treatment and the results you can expect.
So don’t delay, contact us today to make an appointment by calling (800) 424-2663 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to serving you!