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Total knee replacement, unicompartmental or partial knee replacement
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Knee Replacement


  What is a knee replacement?     Types of Knee Replacement     How is a knee replacement surgery performed?
  Pre-operative Preparation     Post-operative Rehabilitation



With a normal knee, you can easily go jogging and indulge in other high-impact sports activities. A normal knee causes no pain while moving. But when you have an impaired knee, you feel pain in the joint after repetitive use and the pain only seems to become more aggravating. A debilitating knee joint also has swelling and at times produces creaking sound. To seek relief, you turn to anti-inflammatory medicines and other non-surgical treatments. In the initial stage, the joint may only ache after you have done some physical work or exercise. But later on the pain takes an adverse turn and becomes persistent, getting worse and worse with time. It's about time that your surgeon recommended you a knee replacement surgery. You can have a damaged knee due to various reasons. It may be due to diseases like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. You can have an enfeebling knee also because of a trauma. Major symptoms of an affected or debilitating knee include joint stiffness, swelling and pain. In your daily life, an impaired knee causes you difficulty while walking, climbing the stairs, getting in and out of the chair etc.



What is a knee replacement?
Also referred to as knee arthroplasty, a knee replacement is a common surgical procedure that relieves you of pain and allows you to be more active. Usually, a knee replacement surgery is carried out on persons aged sixty years or above. However, younger persons may also be in need of a knee replacement if they have a previously damaged knee. This damage of knee may be a result of a trauma or disease like rheumatoid arthritis.



Types of Knee Replacement
Depending on the severity of the affected knee joint, patients can be recommended any of the following two types of knee replacement surgeries :

Total Knee Replacement (TKA)
When a total knee replacement is performed on a person, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone completely from the surface of the joint. The damaged joint is then replaced with man-made implants - Femoral Component, Tibial Component and Patellar Component. These artificial components (or surfaces) are made of highly polished strong metal and durable plastic. With the help of bone cement, these implants are placed firmly in the joint. The designs of these artificial implants closely resemble a normal knee.

Unicompartmental or Partial Knee Replacement (UKA)
The knee can be generally divided into three compartments - Medial, Lateral and Patellofemoral. If the patient is suffering from only a partial damage of the knee joint (when the affected compartments include either medial or lateral), a unicompartmental knee replacement is suggested. A partial knee replacement surgery helps the patient recover faster than in the case of total knee replacement. In the case of a partial knee replacement, the patient spends a shorter period at the hospital and there is less blood loss.



How is a knee replacement surgery performed?
The surgery begins with an incision. The incision is made to expose the front part of the knee. The surgeon then removes the damaged or worn ends of the thigh (distal end of femur) and the leg (proximal end of tibia) bones that make up the knee joint. The back of the knee cap (patella) is also displaced to allow exposure to the aforementioned bones. Next, the ends of these bones are precisely reshaped to accommodate the prosthetic components. After the reshaping is done, test prostheses are used to assess accuracy, range of motion, stability, alignment and the proper balance of the soft tissues. When everything is in place and satisfactory, the metal and plastic components are press-fit into place or cemented (using polymethylmethacrylate bone cement). Finally, the surgical incision is closed and rehabilitation can begin.

 
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