Your knee joint is where the thighbone fits neatly onto the shinbone. Your patellofemoral joint is where the kneecap glides on the thighbone. These bony surfaces are covered by hard cartilage, which cushions the bones when you move your knee. If the hard cartilage wears away, the bones can rub against each other, causing the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis.
If arthritis is limiting your everyday activities and you haven’t been able to manage your pain with medications, cortisone injections, viscosupplementation, braces, or physical therapy, a knee replacement might be an option.
Total Knee Replacement
A knee replacement (arthroplasty) is where the entire joint is replaced with metal and plastic. This is inpatient surgery, and patients typically stay two to three days in the hospital. Depending on the help you have at home or your living situation, you may need to go to a skilled nursing facility after surgery to receive daily physical therapy and get help with tasks like bathing and meals.
Total knee-replacement surgery involves your surgeon making a seven-to-10-inch incision on the front of your knee. Your surgeon will slide and tilt your kneecap to look at the rest of your knee joint and assess the damage.
The damaged bone and cartilage of the thighbone and shinbone is removed, resurfaced, and replaced with a metal component. These two metal components come together to form your new knee joint. A plastic insert is put between the metal components to absorb force and help your knee glide more naturally. Your kneecap may be smoothed out and flattened before it’s returned to its normal position.
Your surgeon will move your knee around to ensure that the knee works properly. This entire surgery can take two to four hours.
Recovery from a total knee replacement can take from 12 weeks to six months, with regular follow-up appointments for X-rays and exams until the knee is healed.
Caring for yourself after a knee replacement can be easier if you have extra help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Also, talking with our joint coordinator can help alleviate some of your post-surgery concerns.
After knee-replacement surgery, it’s very important to challenge and push yourself each day. Patients can do many exercises to make their recovery more comfortable and help strengthen thigh and leg muscles.
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Partial Knee Replacement
A partial knee replacement is an option for an overwhelming number of patients. At Stevens Point Orthopedics, we offer the Oxford partial knee replacement. Dr. David Henneghan has more years of experience with these types of knee replacements than any other provider in central Wisconsin.
The surgery process is similar for total and partial knee replacement, but the partial replacement can be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting depending upon your health, medical history, and insurance. This means you may not spend a night in the hospital.
In order to be a candidate for a partial knee replacement, your arthritis must be confined to the front and inside portion of the knee, and the ACL must be intact. This represents about 40% of patients with osteoarthritis in their knees.
This is not a stepping-stone procedure. In fact, after 20 years 91% of patients still have their partial knee replacement and have not needed a total knee replacement.
Recovery from a partial knee replacement usually takes three to six months. Individuals with sedentary work can return to work in about two weeks after their procedure. Those returning to more active work may be out six weeks or longer. After a full recovery, patients with a partial knee replacement are able to return to the same motion and function as a normal knee.
Some benefits of the partial knee replacement include:
- Improved range of motion compared to a total knee replacement
- Preservation of more healthy bone than a total knee replacement
- Better functionality and more natural motion than a total knee replacement
- Faster recovery and shorter hospital stay than a total knee replacement
- Patients happier with their partial knee replacements than total knee replacement patients
- No real limitations once healing has occurred
- Patients able to return to their active lifestyle – including running, skiing, and other recreational activities