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Below are some frequently asked questions (FAQ) to help you better understand knee replacement.
Joint replacement is usually a success in more than 90 percent of people who have it. When problems do occur, most are treatable. Infection and blood clots are two serious potential complications, but we use antibiotics and blood thinners prior to surgery to help avoid them. While post surgical infection is very rare, we also take special precautions in the operating room to reduce the risk of infections.
Revision surgery is the replacement of an artificial joint. Just as your original joint wears out, a joint replacement will wear over time as well. The most common reason for revision surgery is due to joint loosening. Dislocation of the knee after the surgery is a risk. Persistent instability of the knee may require revision.
A total knee replacement is really a cartilage replacement with an artificial surface. The knee itself is not replaced, but rather an artificial substitute for the cartilage is inserted on the end of the bones. This is done with a metal alloy on the femur and plastic spacer on the tibia and kneecap (patella). This creates a new, smooth cushion and a functioning joint that does not hurt.
In the knee joint there is a layer of smooth cartilage on the lower end of the femur (thigh bone), the upper end of the tibia (shin bone) and the undersurface of the patella (kneecap). This cartilage serves as a cushion and allows for smooth motion of the knee. Arthritis is a wearing away of this cartilage. Eventually, the cartilage wears down to bone. Rubbing of bone against bone causes discomfort, swelling and stiffness.
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