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Total knee replacement

A total knee replacement, also known as total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves replacing the damaged or diseased components of the knee joint with artificial implants. This procedure is commonly performed to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and restore function in individuals with severe knee arthritis, significant joint damage, or other conditions that cause pain and limited range of motion in the knee.

The knee joint consists of three main components: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap). In total knee replacement, all three components are replaced with prosthetic implants, which are typically made from metal, plastic, or ceramic materials. The procedure aims to replicate the natural movement and function of a healthy knee joint.

Here's an overview of the total knee replacement procedure:

  1. Preoperative Evaluation: Before the surgery, the patient undergoes a thorough evaluation, including physical examinations, imaging (such as X-rays and MRI), and medical history assessment.
  2. Surgery: During the surgery, the damaged portions of the femur, tibia, and sometimes the patella are removed. The surfaces of these bones are reshaped to accommodate the artificial implants.
  3. Implant Placement: The implants are carefully positioned and secured to the reshaped bone surfaces using cement or specialized coatings that encourage bone growth and integration.
  4. Spacer Insertion: A plastic spacer is inserted between the metal components of the femur and tibia. This spacer allows for smooth movement between the new joint surfaces.
  5. Closure: The incision is closed, and the wound is dressed.
  6. Recovery and Rehabilitation: After surgery, the patient is monitored in a recovery area before being moved to a hospital room. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are crucial in helping the patient regain strength, mobility, and function in the new knee joint.
  7. Return to Activity: The timeline for returning to normal activities varies, but most patients undergo several weeks of rehabilitation to rebuild strength and range of motion.

Total knee replacement surgery has a high success rate in improving the quality of life for individuals with severe knee joint problems. It significantly reduces pain and allows patients to resume activities they might have had difficulty with before the surgery. However, the decision to undergo a total knee replacement should be made in consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, and the procedure is typically recommended when other non-surgical treatments have proven ineffective in managing the symptoms.