More Info on Knee Replacement Surgery

How Is Knee Replacement Surgery Performed?

After anesthesia is given, your doctor will begin by making an incision along the front of your knee. The joint is opened, and the ends of your worn-out bones are exposed. The ends of the shinbone and thighbone and the undersurface of the kneecap are then removed using special cutting guides and saws.
 
The metal implant pieces are then selected and cemented into place at the end of the thighbone and the shinbone. A piece of plastic is then cemented to the undersurface of the kneecap, and another piece of plastic is attached to the metal of the shinbone to bear weight in the new joint. Your skin is then closed with stitches or staples, a bandage is applied, and possibly a splint, and you are awakened from anesthesia.
 
(Click Knee Replacement Surgery for a more in-depth look at how the surgery is performed.)
 

Implant Information

For knee replacement surgery, a special implant, or artificial joint, is typically used to replace your knee. The implants are made of metal, normally an alloy, which is a combination of several metals.
 
Most implant designs use a small, specialized plastic insert between the two metal parts to act as a weight-bearing surface for the joint, much like your natural cartilage. Depending on the type of implant, bone cement may be used to fix the implant components securely into place.
 

Recovery

After your knee replacement surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room. In this room, you will be with other post-operative patients, and healthcare providers will be available to assist you with any problems or concerns. You will be kept here until your healthcare providers feel that you are recovering well -- usually, this is within one to two hours.
 
It is common to feel some pain in your knee. Pain medicine can be given to help relieve this.
 
Some patients experience nausea after their knee replacement surgery, which can be related to the medications used. This should not last long, but can take up to 24 hours to resolve completely.
 
Remember that your healthcare provider wants you to recover without any problems. So be sure to report anything that does not feel normal or "right."
 
(Click Knee Replacement Recovery for more information.)
 
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