Arthritis and years of activity can wear down knee cartilage, which provides cushioning between bones.
Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure involving placement of a metal and plastic covering over exposed bone endings. The covering takes the place of the worn-away cartilage. Knee replacements cushion bones like cartilage and help you move more easily with little or no discomfort.
More than 470,000 Americans undergo knee replacement surgery each year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The procedure is highly effective in reducing pain and returning individuals to active, independent lifestyles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should have a knee replacement?
Knee replacement surgery may be appropriate for those forced to curtail simple daily activities, such as walking, working or gardening, because of knee pain from arthritis or loss of cartilage.
Is there an alternative to knee replacement?
Knee replacement surgery is only recommended after careful diagnosis of a joint problem. Medications and other non-operative treatments rarely provide the same lasting relief as a knee replacement, and arthroscopic surgery is not helpful for patients with advanced arthritis.
How long is the hospital stay?
Each case is different, but the average hospital stay for knee replacement is two to three days. In cases of mild arthritis involving both knees, fixing one knee may temporarily reduce the stress on the other knee.
Is a blood transfusion required?
Most knee replacement patients do not require a transfusion after surgery.
Are knee replacements cemented?
Some knee replacements involve all-cemented components and others have both cemented and cement-free parts. The technique used depends upon many factors.
How painful is surgery/recovery?
Any temporary discomfort does not compare to the pain of arthritis endured by most people in the months and years before surgery. Post-surgery discomfort is controlled through clinically-proven methods that keep you comfortable following surgery and allow you to participate fully in your recovery.
Are there complications?
We take special precautions in the operating room and after surgery to protect your health. Complications from knee replacement are possible; your surgeon will review risks and complications with you prior to surgery.
How long is recovery?
Recovery times vary with each person. You will likely use crutches or a walker for about four weeks after surgery and resume driving within four weeks. Normally, you can resume biking, golfing and other active pursuits within 12 weeks.