What Actually Happens During a Knee Replacement:

30 Dec

Chances are, a relative or friend of yours has had a knee replacement. It is quite a common procedure, as 5% of adults over the age of 50 have at least one artificial knee.

By far the leading cause of knee replacements is osteoarthritis, which is degeneration of the cartilage in your knee joint. This leads to the bones of the knee directly rubbing on one another, causing intense pain. If non-surgical methods to decrease pain prove to be unsuccessful, an orthopedist may recommend a total knee replacement.

The replacement starts with the surgeon creating a long incision along the front of the knee. The quadriceps muscle and kneecap are then moved to the side to allow the surgeon access to your knee joint.

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Next, the surgeon cuts out the unhealthy, degenerated cartilage on both the upper (femoral) and lower (tibial) parts of the knee joint. The ACL and PCL are also removed.


Finally, metal implants are inserted into the upper and lower knee, along with a plastic spacer to help with shock absorption. A small piece of plastic is also attached to the back of the kneecap. The knee is then mobilized, and the surgery is finished


Following surgery, physical therapy is needed for about 12 weeks to have a successful recovery. Over 90% of patients report a huge decrease in knee pain after the surgery and physical therapy. Keep these facts in mind the next time someone you know gets a knee replacement!