A complete knee replacement is a surgical procedure whereby the diseased knee joint is replaced with an artificial material (Prosthesis). The knee is a hinge joint which provides motion at the point where the thigh meets the lower leg. The thigh bone (or femur) abuts the large bone of the lower leg (tibia) at the knee joint. During a total knee replacement, the end of the femur bone is removed and replaced with a metal shell. The end of the lower leg bone (tibia) is also removed and replaced with a channeled plastic piece with a metal stem. Depending on the condition of the kneecap portion of the knee joint, a plastic “button” may also be added under the kneecap surface. The artificial components of a total knee replacement are referred to as the prosthesis.
LENGTH OF SURGERY
The surgery itself takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. Your orthopedic surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and bone, and then position the new metal and plastic implants to restore the alignment and function of your knee.
TYPE OF ANESTHESIA
Knee joint replacement surgery can be performed under a spinal or general anesthetic. The anesthesia team, with your input, will determine which type of anesthesia will be best for you.
Everyone recovers a little differently following a complete knee replacement. It usually takes about 12 weeks to complete the rehab process and 6 months to a year to get back to full strength. It is vital to begin moving the new joint after surgery. A physical therapist will meet with you soon after your surgery and plan an exercise program for you.