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What is knee replacement?

Knee joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which certain parts of an arthritic or damaged knee joint are removed and replaced with a prosthesis, or artificial joint. The artificial joint is designed to move just like a normal, healthy joint and allows you to get back to enjoying normal, everyday activities without pain.

How "bad" does my joint pain have to get before I should consider having joint replacement?

This is a very personal decision that only you can make with the help of an orthopaedic specialist's evaluation of your pain and its effects on your daily life. For example, experiencing knee pain day after day without relief can lead to "staying off" the joint - which often weakens the muscles around it, so it becomes even more difficult to move. When other more conservative treatment options - including medication and physical therapy - no longer provide pain relief, joint replacement may be recommended.

What is minimally invasive knee replacement surgery?

With a minimally invasive knee surgery, specialized techniques and instrumentation enable the physician to perform major surgery without as large an incision. In this respect, it is indeed "minimally invasive," requiring a smaller incision and causing less trauma to the soft tissues. MIS knee replacement is considered a step forward in total knee replacement for a number of reasons, which include the following: potential for a shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, and less scarring. However, MIS surgery is not the right procedure for everyone. Only your orthopaedic specialist can determine its benefits for you.

Are there risks associated with minimally invasive surgery (MIS)?

The MIS knee replacement technique is significantly less invasive than conventional knee replacement surgery, but it is still a major surgery. As with any major surgical procedure, patients who undergo total joint replacement are at risk for certain complications, the vast majority of which can be successfully avoided and/or treated.

What is uni-compartmental arthroplasty?

When a joint has worn to the point it no longer does its job, an artificial joint, or prosthesis, made of metal, ceramics and plastics can take its place. Unicompartmental joint replacement surgery recreates the normal function of the joint - relieving discomfort and significantly increasing activity and mobility.

Why do knees need replacement?

The joint in your knee is lined with cartilage, a layer of smooth, tough tissue that cushions the bones where they touch each other. With age and stress, the cartilage wears away and the bones rub against each other, causing friction, swelling, stiffness, pain and sometimes deformity. When this happens, knee replacement may relieve pain and restore mobility and quality of life.

Is joint replacement surgery safe?

Joint replacement is a safe and common procedure. Annually, nearly 150,000 people have hips and nearly 250,000 have knees replaced with positive results. Any surgical procedure involves risk. Hospital staff will review these with you and explain how your post-surgical program can reduce risk and aid in more rapid recovery.

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