Knee Replacement (KR) | All You Need to Know About Knee Replacement Surgery

Total knee replacement

According to statistics, total knee replacement is the most commonly performed surgery among the four types. It is estimated that 700,000 knee replacements are performed every year in the US. Total knee joint replacement surgery has been performed for more than 40 years. Over those years, great improvements in materials and designs have raised the expectations of its results. TKR surgery duration ranges from one hour to three hours according to the surgeon’s experience and used techniques.

TKR is a complex procedure and a major surgery, so you have to make sure you are in a need for it and to have that discussion with your doctor. Knee implants are not identical to prosthetic implants since the latter are made to fit the patient’s knee and to compensate for the damaged parts, and therefore these implants vary greatly by design, size, and materials. In total knee replacement surgery, the whole joint is replaced with an inert and safe prosthetic implant.

We can roughly sum up TKR surgery into five steps:

  1. The anesthesiologist will apply mostly general anesthesia to the patient and monitor his heart rate and vital activities.
  2. The orthopedic surgeon makes a 10-inch incision and removes the damaged tissue from the femur (thigh) and tibia (shin)bones as well as the torn parts of the surrounding muscles and cartilage.
  3. Then, he attaches the metal components to the lower end of the thigh bone and upper part of the tibia to form the articular shape of the joint, he also adds bone cement to fix them into place.
  4. To complete the implantation, the surgeon flattens the surface of the patella (knee cap) before returning it to fit perfectly with the other implants and underlying bone. He may also readjust the parts or add cement to ensure its proper positioning.
  5. The surgeon closes the incision with stitches or staples and applies bandages to prevent secondary infections. Finally, you leave the operating room to start your rehabilitation. Continuous passive motion (CPM) machine will have an important role in your first phase of rehabilitation as it will gently bend and flex your new knee for you to maintain knee full range of motion while you are lying down.