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Knee Replacement

Arthritis and Knee Replacement Surgery

What is osteoarthritis and how does it affect my knee?
The ends of the bones in a joint are covered with cartilage, a tough lubricating tissue that helps cushion the bones during movement. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint bone and cartilage, and it typically develops after years of constant motion and pressure in the joints. As the bone and cartilage continue to wear away, the joint becomes increasingly painful and difficult to move.

What treatment options are available?
Conservative treatments may include physical therapy, weight loss, medication, braces, and activity modification. When conservative treatments fail to provide relief from pain, your surgeon may recommend total knee replacement.

What is total knee replacement?
Total knee replacement, also called arthroplasty, involves removing the diseased bone and cartilage and resurfacing them with orthopedic implants.

During surgery, the joint is exposed by an incision, made down the center or off to the side of the knee. The damaged bone ends are then resurfaced with components designed to re-create the natural contours of the bones in a healthy knee. The metal and polyethylene (plastic) implants allow the bones to smoothly glide against each other, much like natural cartilage.

The life of any implant will depend on your weight, age, activity level, and other factors. For more information on risks, warnings, and possible adverse effects, see the Patient Risk Information section found within

What kind of recovery can I expect?
Exercise is necessary for proper healing. Your surgeon may recommend therapy to assist with gentle leg movement, strengthening, and mobility exercises between 24-48 hours after surgery. Therapy will begin in the hospital and usually continues after discharge for approximately six weeks.

Diligent physical therapy, proper diet, and a willingness to follow all of your surgeon's recommendations will contribute to a successful recovery after surgery. Most patients are able to walk without support and drive three to six weeks after surgery.

Can I participate in regular activities after surgery?
Patients with total knee replacement are typically able to participate in low-impact activities after surgery. Golfing, walking, and swimming are a few examples of low-impact activities. Talk to your doctor before participating in an activity that may place excess stress on your knee.

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