Knee replacement surgery is a practical option for treatment when a patient's knee does not respond to medication and other forms of treatment. The surgical types of knee replacement are: Total knee replacement or Partial knee replacement.
Total Knee Replacement (TKR)
This traditional surgery has been practiced and advanced over the years. During the operation, the surface of all damaged bone due to osteoarthritis is removed. The knee joint is then replaced with an implant that fits your anatomy. Special surgical equipment is used to remove the arthritic bone and shape the undamaged underlying bone to fit the implant components. The surgery entails four stages:
- Preparation of the bone by removing damaged cartilage surfaces at the ends of the femur and tibia.
- Positioning of the metal tibial and femoral implants and cementing or press-fitting them to the bone.
- A plastic button inserted underneath the kneecap (patella)
- A medical grade plastic spacer is placed between the femoral and tibial metal components to form a smooth surface that slides freely and works like a healthy knee.
Research by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows 90% of TKR patients experienced reduced knee pain and improved movement. The risks involved in this surgery such as infection, blood clots, continued knee pain, and implant failure.
The two approaches to TKR are: Posterior-stabilized and Cruciate-retaining.
Partial Knee Replacement (PKR)
PKR is also called uni-compartmental knee replacement. It entails replacing part of the knee while retaining as much healthy bone and soft tissue as possible. This surgery is most useful in patients younger than 65 who have osteoarthritis in one of the three anatomic compartments of the knee (medial, lateral or patella femoral compartment). In the procedure, the bone and cartilage on the affected portion of the knee are removed and replaced with metal and plastic components.
PKR offers faster recovery period, less pain after surgery and less blood loss and trauma. PKR also feels more natural compared to TKR. However, there is less assurance of complete healing because the preserved bone is still susceptible to osteoarthritis.
Surgery Options for TKR and PKR
- Traditional surgery
- Minimal invasive surgery such as Quadriceps-sparing approaches and Lateral approach
- Computer-assisted surgery
The surgical options and methods for knee replacement are safe and effective for treatment and recovery.