Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a common procedure for end stage arthritis. Over 600,000 total knee replacements are performed annually in the United States. The main reason patients choose knee replacement surgery is pain and dysmobility, which limits patients’ activities of daily living. When patients have failed conservative medical management, and are choosing to be inactive to avoid knee pain, then total knee arthroplasty surgery becomes a definitive treatment choice.
As surgeons, we have the ability to do total knee replacements or partial knee replacements. Patients with isolated arthritis to one compartment may be candidates for hemiarthroplasty. Partial knee replacements can be performed on the medial joint compartment, the lateral joint compartment, or the patellofemoral joint. The type of surgery and implant selection will be tailored to your needs and thoroughly discussed at your appointment through our office.
There are many vendors which make total knee implants. Commonly, the implants are metal and polyethylene. The most common knee implants are mainly cobalt-chrome with polyethylene tibial trays and patellar domes. For patients with nickel allergies, or metal ion sensitivity to cobalt or chrome, we have the option to use implants made out of titanium or oxonium. Again, these issues will be discussed and reviewed through your clinic appointment and prior to your actual surgical procedure.
Total Knee Replacement Rehabilitation
Total knee arthroplasty surgery involves extensive rehabilitation to strengthen your quadriceps muscle. Most patients feel that total knee replacement rehabilitation is tougher than total hip arthroplasty rehabilitation. Once patients have gained their range of motion and their surgical pain has cleared, they have a better quality of life and are able to resume activities that they had previously given up, due to their arthritic knee pain. As a surgeon, it is very rewarding to watch patients get their life back! Most patients have a higher level of function and are able to resume activities that they had previously discontinued due to their knee pain.
There are risks associated with knee replacement surgery and these will be thoroughly discussed preoperatively with patients and their family. Patients are also encouraged in preoperative fitness and health, which will expedite their postoperative rehabilitation and recovery. Orthopedic literature suggests that a BMI less than 35 reduces the risk involved with total knee arthroplasty surgery. Be careful what you read on the internet prior to your surgery.
I look forward to seeing you as a patient in the future. I will individualize your treatment and total knee arthroplasty surgery. I will also be involved with your postoperative rehabilitation and coordinate your health care with your primary care physician. It is my belief that collaboration between health care providers is best when patients are undergoing major joint replacement surgery.
Finally, you will have direct access to my office and staff to answer all of your questions and address all of your orthopedic needs during the perioperative period. Again, we look forward to serving you and hope that you will contact our office by phone or through our web page to make an appointment.
Herbert R. Clark, M.D.