Primary total knee replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the worn out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint
Indications for surgery
Total knee replacement surgery is commonly indicated for severe osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis in which the joint cartilage gradually wears away. It often affects older people. Other forms of arthritis exist such as rheumatoid arthritis. In a normal joint, articular cartilage allows for smooth movement within the joint, whereas in an arthritic knee the cartilage itself becomes thinner or completely absent. In addition, the bones become thicker around the edges of the joint and may form bony “spurs”. All of these factors can cause pain and restricted range of motion in the joint. Dr Klar may advise total knee replacement if you have:
- Severe knee pain which limits your daily activities (such as walking, getting up from a chair or climbing stairs).
- Moderate to severe pain that occurs during rest or awakens you at night.
- Chronic knee inflammation and swelling that is not relieved with rest or medications.
- Failure to obtain pain relief from medications, physical therapy, or other conservative treatments.
- A bow-legged or knocked-knee deformity of the leg.
- Poor quality of life and significant functional limitation.
Knee Replacement Surgery
The goal of total knee replacement surgery is to relieve joint pain and restore the alignment and function of your knee. The surgery is performed under spinal and/or general
Rehabilitation begins immediately following the knee replacement surgery. A physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to strengthen your leg and restore knee movement, and your physiotherapist will come to walk you briefly at about 4 hours after the operation to minimise your risk of blood clots. You will be able to walk with crutches or a walker. Your physical therapist will also provide you with a home exercise program to strengthen thigh and calf muscles. Blood transfusion is occasionally needed after total knee replacement surgery but is less likely these days. Most patients stay in hospital 3-5 days after a primary knee replacement.
Risks and complications
As with any major surgery, possible risks and complications exist and those associated with total knee replacement surgery include:
- Knee stiffness or arthrofibrosis
- Infection in the artificial knee joint
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) or lung clots
- Nerve and blood vessel damage
- Ligament injuries
- Patella (kneecap) dislocation or fracture
- Plastic liner wearing out
- Ongoing pain of uncertain origin in up to 10% of patients
- Loosening of the implants
- Unsightly or thickened scar
- Complex regional pain syndrome
Make an Appointment
Make an appointment online for a consultation at
Canberra Knee Clinic.