Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure performed to replace a damaged or severely diseased knee joint with an artificial joint, known as a prosthesis. The aim of knee replacement surgery is to relieve pain, improve knee function, and enhance the quality of life for individuals suffering from various knee conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, or other degenerative joint diseases.
The procedure involves removing the damaged cartilage and bone from the affected knee joint and then replacing it with metal and plastic components that mimic the natural movement of a healthy knee. The most commonly used artificial knee joint is made of metal alloys (usually cobalt-chromium or titanium) for the femoral component, a high-density polyethylene for the tibial component, and sometimes a patellar component made of the same plastic material.
The knee replacement surgery can be performed using different techniques, such as:
Total Knee Replacement (TKR): In this procedure, all three compartments of the knee joint (medial, lateral, and patellofemoral) are replaced with artificial components.
Partial Knee Replacement (PKR): In some cases where only one part of the knee joint is affected, a partial knee replacement may be performed. This involves replacing only the damaged compartment, preserving the healthy parts of the knee.
Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement: Some surgeons use minimally invasive techniques that involve smaller incisions, which can lead to shorter recovery times and potentially less scarring.
Candidates for knee replacement surgery are usually those who experience severe knee pain, have difficulty walking or performing daily activities, and whose symptoms do not improve with non-surgical treatments such as medications, physical therapy, or corticosteroid injections.