During total knee replacement (which is also called total knee arthroplasty), your surgeon removes the damaged surfaces of the knee joint and replaces them with metal and plastic components referred to as the prosthesis or implant. The implant is designed to replace the function of a healthy knee.
Total knee replacement is intended for use in individuals with joint disease resulting from degenerative, rheumatoid and post-traumatic arthritis, and for moderate deformity of the knee.
Knee replacement surgery is not appropriate for patients with certain types of infections, any mental or neuromuscular disorder which would create an unacceptable risk of prosthesis instability, prosthesis fixation failure or complications in postoperative care, compromised bone stock, skeletal immaturity, severe instability of the knee, or excessive body weight.
As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery has serious risks which include, but are not limited to, pain, infection, bone fracture, peripheral neuropathies (nerve damage), circulatory compromise (including deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs)), genitourinary disorders (including kidney failure), gastrointestinal disorders (including paralytic ileus (loss of intestinal digestive movement)), vascular disorders (including thrombus (blood clots), blood loss, or changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm), bronchopulmonary disorders (including emboli, stroke or pneumonia), heart attack, and death.
Implant related risks which may lead to a revision include dislocation, loosening, fracture, nerve damage, heterotopic bone formation (abnormal bone growth in tissue), wear of the implant, metal and/or foreign body sensitivity, soft tissue imbalance, osteolysis (localized progressive bone loss), and reaction to particle debris. Knee implants may not provide the same feel or performance characteristics experienced with a normal healthy joint.
The information presented is for educational purposes only. Speak to your doctor to decide if joint replacement surgery is right for you. Individual results vary and not all patients will return to the same postoperative activity level. The lifetime of any joint replacement is limited and varies with each individual. Your doctor will counsel you about how to best maintain your activities in order to potentially prolong the lifetime of the device. Such strategies include not engaging in high-impact activities, such as running, as well as maintaining a healthy weight. It is important to closely follow your doctor’s instructions regarding post-surgery activity, treatment and follow-up care. Ask your doctor if the joint replacement is right for you.
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