Total Joint Replacement

When more than one part of the knee joint is arthritic and the symptoms being suffered justify surgery, a total knee replacement (TKR) is performed.  In this procedure all the bearing surfaces of the knee are cut off and replaced with a combination of metal linings to the bone and plastic spacers.  The movement takes place at the interface between the metal and the plastic.

Patients are encouraged to start moving the knee in the immediate post-operative phase and start walking with aids on the day after surgery.  Patients will go home between 3 and 7 days post-operatively dependent on progress.  Most of the recovery from TKR is achieved in the first 6 months but some improvement continues to occur for up to 2 years post-operatively.

If performed well, the knee should go fully straight and bend back to about 120 degrees and should be pain-free.  Total knee replacement still suffers from a bad reputation, but in fact is a very successful operation with over 90% of implanted knees surviving over 15 years.  This success rate is better than for hip replacement.  Most outcome studies suggest between 10 and 15% of people still have some discomfort after their surgery but the majority of these people are still satisfied with their surgery.

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