The knee is one of the complex and largest joint in the human body. It attaches the thighbone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia). Actually the knee joint is divided in to two joints. The major joint is between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). The smaller joint is between the kneecap (patella) and the thigh bone (femur). Knee replacement or arthroplasty is an orthopedic surgical procedure to replace a damaged, painful or diseased knee with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers. The objective of knee replacement is to cure pain, restore proper function of a stiffened knee joint and boost the quality of life.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
In the U.S, Osteoarthritis is the most typical reason for knee replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis also known as degenerative joint disease is a disorder in which the natural cushioning between joints and articular cartilage gradually breaks down as a result the surface of the bone rub directly against each other and causes swelling, inflammation, pain and increasing loss of flexibility. Osteoarthritis (OA) is also referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints, causes pain in the joints with activity. The common locations for osteoarthritis are knees and the hips. It is the most common type of arthritis which generally develops after 45 years of age, but it can occur even in young people, particularly where they have had joint injury or joint surgery. Generally the symptoms of osteoarthritis develop very slowly. According to the Arthritis Foundation Women are more possibly to have osteoarthritis than men.
Types of Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery is significant and there are different types of replacement knee joint as well as different surgical methods. There are many orthopedic manufacturing companies that produce different implants used in knee replacement surgery. The orthopedic surgeon select the best method and uses the finest implants in the operation, taking into account the condition of the knee and general health of the patient.
- Total knee replacement – In total knee arthroplasty procedure both sides of knee joint are replaced knee with artificial parts (prostheses) A normal knee functions as a articulation joint between the upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula).
- Unicompartmental (partial) knee replacement – In partial/unicompartmental knee replacement, the surgeon replaces just the damaged part of the knee.
- Kneecap replacement (patellofemoral arthroplasty) – In Kneecap replacement surgery surgeon replaces the under-surface of the kneecap and the trochlea.
- Complex or revision knee replacement – It is the replacement of the previous failed total knee prosthesis (damaged knee) with a new prosthesis.
Complications of Knee Replacement Surgery
The complications associated with knee replacement surgery are as follow:
- Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Infection of the wound
- Unexpected bleeding into the knee joint
- Fracture in the bone around the artificial joint
- numbness in the area around the wound scar
- Injuries to arteries, veins, or nerves
The replacement of knee in some cases causes death but it is rare. In some cases, the new knee joint may not be completely stable and further surgery may be needed to correct it. In the initial months after surgery the risk is higher. Physicians should select a correct method and use proper implant devices considering patient health as well as the condition of the knee.