St. Francis offers an award-winning program called Joint Camp for those having knee or hip replacement surgery. Joint Camp involves extensive pre-surgical education, group sessions of physical therapy, a Coach program, graduation ceremony and more. Learn more about Joint Camp >>
candidates for surgery
Your orthopedic surgeon will decide if you are a candidate for knee replacement surgery based on your medical history and response to more conservative treatments for osteoarthritis, like medication and physical therapy. Knee replacements also may be required for those with certain types of bone fractures or injuries.
Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative disease that occurs when the cushioning, called cartilage, between bone joints wears away. For those with osteoarthritis in the knee, the cartilage cushioning the knee joint can wear away as osteoarthritis progresses, causing the bones to rub together painfully during movement.
Knee replacement surgery replaces the worn-away cartilage with an artificial surface called a prosthesis. The prosthesis has three main parts: one that is attached to the thigh bone (femur), one to the top of the shin bone (tibia), and a spacer between them. Usually, metal is used on the end of the femur and tibia, and plastic is used between them. However, your surgeon may choose to use a metal on plastic implant. The goal of knee replacement is to create a functioning, pain-free joint.
total knee replacement
During total knee replacement surgery, the surgeon makes an incision over the affected knee and moves the knee cap out of the way. Next, the arthritic bone is removed from the heads of the femur and tibia, and the bones are contoured to prepare for the insertion of the prosthesis. Sometimes, the undersurface of the knee cap also is contoured.
Then, the prosthesis is placed onto the ends of the femur, tibia and undersurface of the patella using special bone cement. After surgery, the hospital stay is usually three days, and complete recovery usually takes six to 12 weeks.
partial knee replacements
Partial knee replacements, also called minimally-invasive knee replacements, have the same goal as total knee replacements - to remove arthritic bone and damaged cartilage and insert a prosthesis so that the knee can move smoothly and painlessly. The difference in a partial knee replacement is that the procedure removes and replaces only the most damaged areas in the knee, instead of replacing all of the bone surfaces.
This type of surgery may be possible if arthritis in the knee is confined to a limited area, but it is not appropriate for all patients. There are different types of partial knee replacement procedures depending on which part of the knee joint is damaged. Two examples of partial knee replacements are unicompartmental knee replacement and patellar resurfacing.
Partial knee replacements usually result in a smaller scar (about three inches as opposed to about eight inches) because there is less damage soft tissue around the knee. In addition, partial knee replacements may result in less blood loss, and a faster recovery time than total knee replacement surgery.
gender knee replacements
Gender knee replacements are performed in the same way as a total knee replacement. The only difference is the type of prosthetic device used. These special prostheses are specially designed to fit a womans knee. They are generally smaller in size, and there also are small variations in the angles of the prosthesis so that it better fits the angles of a womans knee. Watch a video of a Gender Knee Replacement Surgery >>