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  • Total Knee Replacement

  • Total knee replacement

    A person with advanced arthritis of the knee joint resulting in severe pain is a candidate for total knee replacement.

    When knee pain interferes with daily activity, walking tolerance, and independence, it is time to consider this alternative.

    Many individuals choose a total knee replacement so they can maintain normal activities of daily living.

    The end of the femur and tibia form the knee joint. They are covered with a thin, smooth layer of cartilage. In the knee, hyaline (surface) and meniscal cartilage cushion the joint and absorb shock. Normally this cartilage is lubricated by a few drops of synovial fluid. The lining of the joint which produces this fluid is synovium. With cartilage debris from wear, the synovium proliferates and produces excess fluid.

    Cartilage has poor healing capabilities; as it wears away, bone becomes exposed. Bone surfaces rubbing against each other cause pain, while cartilage has no sensation. There are no predictable or satisfactory methods for reversing the damage of arthritis. When nonsurgical alternatives cannot bring a suitable level of relief, total joint replacement is a realistic alternative.

    Prosthesis appearance
    A total joint replacement consists of three pieces. These are made of rugged polyethylene (high density plastic) and alloy metals. These pieces resurface the three bones which comprise the knee joint (femur, tibia and patella). The femoral component (the end of the thigh bone) is made of metal. The tibial component (the top of the shin bone) has a metal tray with a plastic insert which mates with the femoral component. The patella component (the kneecap) also has a plastic surface which mates with a groove in the femoral component. The knee replacement appears and functions much like a normal knee.

    Total joint fixation

    Information provided by Jack Goldstein, MD, The Center for Sports Medicine Orthopedics and Podiatry, 400 Massasoit Ave, East Providence, RI