Total Knee Replacement Surgery

A doctor usually recommends total knee replacement surgery if all three of the joint’s compartments are damaged. This procedure replaces the end of the tibia, femur and the back side of the patella. During a total knee surgery, the surgeon makes an incision that is between 8 and 12 inches to expose the knee joint. The bottom of the femur is resurfaced and fitted with a metal piece (femoral head). Depending on the condition of the bone, the surgeon may have to cut more of the damaged bone off the femur. Next, a small piece of bone is cut from the top of the tibia and a flat, weight-bearing metal piece is screwed into the top (tibial plate). Then, a flat piece of medical-grade plastic (menisci replacement plate) is placed in between these two pieces to absorb shock and allow the knee to glide smoothly. The back side of the patella facing the end of the femur is also resurfaced and fitted with a small plastic button.

Some medical centers like RushUniversityMedicalCenter  in Chicago perform minimally invasive surgery for a total knee replacement with only a 3- to 4- inch incision. Surgeons cut less muscle and tissue, which leads to less blood loss, increased range of motion and a shorter hospital stay. Many people go home the same day. This procedure is not as widely used as traditional surgery because there is a higher risk for poor implant placement. Only specialized medical centers typically offer this surgical option.

Generally, total knee replacement surgery will include these basic steps:
1. Damaged cartilage is removed, along with a small amount of bone from the tibia and femur.  
2. Damaged bone surfaces are replaced with metal components, and cartilage is replaced by medical-grade plastic.  
3. Depending on the case, some surgeons may resurface the under side of the kneecap (patella) with a plastic disk.  
4. A piece of smooth, medical-grade plastic is placed in between the metal parts to facilitate ease of movement.  

If you or a loved one has had problems after knee replacement, Contact us today for a free legal case consultation and evaluation. Joel A. Nash, Esq. (216) 691-3000