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Total Knee Replacement

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What Is Total Knee Replacement?

Total knee replacement is an orthopedic surgery where your diseased knee is removed and replaced with an artificial joint. The lower end of your femur (thighbone) and the upper end of your tibia (your leg bone) meet behind the patella (knee cap).

Surgeons repair any damaged surfaces and replace the hinged area of the knee with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. A surgeon removes the lower end of the femur and the upper end of the tibia. The prosthesis is connected to both large bones. Depending on the condition of the patient's knee, the posterior cruciate ligament (which holds the leg in alignment) may be also be replaced.

Total Knee Replacement

How Do I Prepare for Total Knee Replacement?

Blood work, EKG's and chest x-rays provide the necessary information to assure that the patient is healthy enough for surgery and anesthesia. Surgeons recommend that overweight patients lose weight to avoid trauma to the replaced joint.

 

Patients also stop taking blood thinners, such as warfarin and anti-inflammatory medicines like aspirin and Motrin to avoid the risk of excessive bleeding.

What are the symptoms that indicate I might need this?

Cartilage between the thigh and the leg bone protects each end of those bones allowing them to painlessly slide against each other. But if the knee is injured or arthritis damages the cartilage, the movement between those bones become very painful. The knees become stiff. Everyday activities, including climbing stairs, become increasingly difficult.

Dr. Doerr Orthopedic Surgeon
Total Knee Replacement Orthopedic Associates

What are the Types of Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

Most patients receive a total knee replacement. If a patient only has arthritis on one side of the knee, they might qualify for partial knee replacement surgery. A few surgeons offer kneecap replacement. The fourth type of surgery is a revision (also known as a complex) knee replacement surgery if they have already had knee replacement surgery.

What are the Risks/Potential Complications of Total Knee Surgery?

What are the Risks/Potential Complications of Total Knee Surgery?

  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pain and/or stiffness at the site of the surgery
  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Anesthesia risks (usually avoided due to pre-surgical screenings)

What Happens during the Treatment/Surgery?

Patients spend a few hours in recovery where their vital signs are monitored. A Foley catheter is inserted into the urethra to allow easy passage of urine until the patient is awake and able to get up. Patients begin walking again with the use a walker or crutches.

 

What Happens during Recovery/Rehabilitation?

Physical therapy and exercise after knee replacement surgery are critical to the success of the surgery. This exercise prevents scarring and maintains muscle strength.

Physical therapy and exercise after knee replacement surgery are critical to the success of the surgery. This exercise prevents scarring and maintains muscle strength.

Conclusion

Most patients return to a full active life within several months.

Orthopedic Specialists

Jeffrey Hessing, MD and Timothy Doerr, MD have a passion for helping others. They have a combined 50 years of orthopedic excellence dedicated to the people of the Boise area. All of our surgeons are board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Dr. Doerr

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