Knee Replacement is one of the most effective operations in all of orthopedics. Typical conditions leading up to the need for a knee replacement include osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid disease, and posttraumatic arthritis or damage to the cartilage after a prior injury. Knee replacement involves replacing or capping the joint surfaces where the cartilage has been damaged with metal and plastic components. The amount of bone removed in a knee replacement procedure is typically only about 1/2 an inch.
Modern, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques have transformed knee replacement. We are now able to perform the procedure through smaller incisions with less muscle damage due to improved instruments and techniques. This has led to less postoperative pain and a quicker recovery. Computer-guided navigation is an additional advancement in knee replacement surgery. With the use of computer-guided navigation we are able to more consistently place the knee in perfect alignment, resulting in a more predictable long-term outcome.
The recovery from a knee replacement is more challenging than the recovery from a hip or shoulder replacement. The hospital stay after knee replacement is, typically, 2-3 days. Physical therapy is performed in the home for the first two weeks after surgery and then on an outpatient basis for at least 2 to 3 months after surgery. You should expect continued improvement after a knee replacement for 6 to 12 months, though the majority of the improvement occurs in the first 2 months. Most people are able to return to work 6 to 12 weeks after surgery.