If your doctor suggests knee surgery as a treatment for your injury or arthritis of the knee, you may feel a little scared and unsure about what's likely to happen to you. Relax. Getting the right information and knowing the options can help you approach your impending treatment in a calm, unstressed state of mind.
This section of our website provides key facts about knee replacement surgery and related issues for patients and their families.
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The long-term goal of a knee replacement is to provide pain relief, restore normal activities of daily living, and enhance your quality of life.
There are three major types of knee surgery: arthroscopic, partial knee replacement, and total knee replacement. Your doctor will advise you as to which surgery is right for your situation.
In knee arthroscopy, a small camera is inserted into the knee joint through a small incision. The camera is attached to a video monitor so the doctor can see inside the knee.
Once the camera is in place, salt water is pumped into the knee joint. This expands the joint to make the surgery easier, and controls bleeding in the joint.
Once the surgeon has determined what injuries exist, he will make one to four new incisions for the surgical instruments. These may include a blunt hook for pulling on various tissues, a shaver to remove damaged or unwanted tissues such as torn cartilage, and a burr to remove bone.
After the surgery, the knee joint is drained, the incisions are closed, and a bandage or dressing is applied to the knee.
Arthroscopy may be used for a variety of knee joint conditions, including a torn meniscus, mild arthritis, loose pieces of broken cartilage in the joint, a torn or damaged anterior or posterior cruciate ligament, inflamed or damaged synovium or lining of the joint, or misalignment of the knee cap.
After the surgery, most people are able to go home the same day. Patients with no other problems, such as arthritis, can expect a full recovery within four to six weeks and with relatively little pain.
Partial knee replacement is a procedure that provides patients with a minimally invasive solution for arthritis of the knee. Partial knee replacement is used for cases of osteoarthritis where damage to one section or compartment of the knee is causing debilitating pain.
This procedure replaces only the damaged area of your knee joint, may require only one day of hospitalization, and results in dramatically less recovery time when compared with total knee replacement surgery.
In advanced cases of arthritis it may be necessary to replace the knee joint with an artificial joint in a procedure known as total knee replacement. This procedure normally takes between one and two hours and is the most comprehensive of the three surgical procedures available for treating arthritis of the knee.