Total knee replacement

Legs | Orthopaedics | Total knee replacement (Disease)


Total knee replacement surgery is considered for patients whose knee joints have been damaged by either progressive arthritis, trauma, or other rare destructive diseases of the joint.

Causes and Risk factors

The most common reason for knee replacement may be severe osteoarthritis of the knees. Risks of total knee replacement include blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Pulmonary embolism can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, and even shock. Other risks include urinary tract infection, nausea and vomiting (usually related to pain medication), chronic knee pain and stiffness, bleeding into the knee joint, nerve damage, blood vessel injury, and infection of the knee which can require reoperation. Furthermore, the risks of anesthesia include potential heart, lung, kidney, and liver damage.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The surgery is done under conditions of sterility in the operating room under spinal or general anesthesia. The patient lies on his back with a hemostatic band (tourniquet) applied around the thigh to reduce blood loss. During the procedure, the orthopedic surgeon builds the artificial knee inside the leg of the patient, to create a highly realistic artificial joint.

Like any major surgery there are risks. The decision to go to surgery is made because the advantages and the disadvantages of this surgery. It is important to be informed about these risks before surgery is performed. Complications may be general or specific local knee. ...