Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the worn out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial parts. The knee is made up of the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and patella (kneecap). The joint surface is covered by a smooth cartilage which acts as a cushion and facilitates movements of the joint. Repetitive wear and tear, injury, inflammatory disorders, developmental deformities, and other diseases of the joint can damage this protective layer of cartilage, causing pain and difficulty in performing daily activities. Total knee replacement surgery is an option to relieve severe arthritis pain that limits your daily activities.
During the procedure, an incision is made over the affected knee to expose the knee joint. The damaged portions of the femur bone are cut at appropriate angles using specialized jigs. The femoral component is then attached to the end of the femur with or without bone cement. Next, the top part of the shin bone is cut at an appropriate angle using specialized jigs. The tibial component (known as the baseplate) is then secured to the end of the bone with or without bone cement. Next, a plastic insert is secured onto the baseplate. This plastic insert will support the body’s weight and allow the femur to move smoothly over the tibia. To make sure the patella (knee cap) glides smoothly over the new artificial knee, its rear surface is also prepared to receive a plastic component. The muscles and tendons around the new joint are repaired and the incision is closed.
Below are before (left) and after (right) X-rays of a seventy-seven-year-old woman showing severe knee arthritis that was treated with a total knee replacement.
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