Brian S. Parsley, M.D, flag

What is Knee Replacement?

A knee replacement is the replacement of all or part of the (gliding) cartilage surfaces of the knee’s three working parts.

Knee after Total Knee ReplacementThis may include:

  • Femoral Component: Femoral condyles are at the lower end of the thigh bone. The part that replaces the femoral condyles, the femoral component, is made entirely of metal. It fits over the end of the femur like a cap. This part may be
    cemented to the bone, but is frequently inserted without cement.

  • Tibial Component: This is the upper part of the tibia (shin bone). The tibial component is made entirely of plastic, or a combination of metal and plastic. The metal forms the base of this part and is in direct contact with the tibia. The
    plastic, which is a very durable type of polyethylene, is inserted on top of the metal. This serves as a cushion and a smooth gliding surface between the metal of the femoral and the metal of the tibial parts. Most tibial components are secured to the bone with bone cement. However, the tibial component may be used without cement and secured with bone screws instead.

  • Patella Component: This is the undersurface of the patella(knee cap). The patella may be all polyethylene, or a combination of metal and polyethylene. This part may be inserted with or without cement. The decision to use the prosthesis with or without cement is made by the surgeon based on a complete understanding of your case and all factors involved.

A total knee replacement involves replacement of all the cartilage surfaces of your knee. In certain patients, a partial or unicompartmental knee replacement is indicated when the arthritis involves only a part of the knee. This procedure preserves more of your natural knee. The decision on how much of your knee to replace is determined before and during your surgery.

Sections of the booklet

The History of Total Knee ReplacementThe History of Total Knee ReplacementThe History of Total Knee Replacement
When is Knee Replacement Necessary?When is Knee Replacement Necessary?When is Knee Replacement Necessary?
What is Total Knee Replacement?What is Total Knee Replacement?What is Total Knee Replacement?
Your EvaluationYour EvaluationYour Evaluation
Deciding on SurgeryDeciding on SurgeryDeciding on Surgery
Proceeding to Knee ReplacementProceeding to Knee ReplacementProceeding to Hip Replacement
What About Blood Donations?What About Blood Donations?What About Blood Donations?
Your Hospital AdmissionThe History of Your Hospital AdmissionThe History of TotYour Hospital Admission
Your Anesthesiologist Your Anesthesiologist Your Anesthesiologist
Vascular ImagingVascular Imaging Vascular Imaging
What is an Operative Permit?What is an Operative Permit? What is an Operative Permit?
The Day of Your SurgeryThe Day of Your Surgery The Day of Your Surgery
If You Experience PainIf You Experience PainIf You Experience Pain
Your Physical TherapyYour Physical Therapy Your Physical Therapy
Going Home After Total Joint ReplacementGoing Home After Total Joint Replacement Going Home After Total Joint Replacement
Follow Up Doctor AppointmentFollow Up Doctor AppointmentFollow Up Doctor Appointment
Infection PrecautionsInfection PrecautionsInfection Precautions
Resuming Normal ActivitiesResuming Normal ActivitiesResuming Normal Activities
In SummaryIn SummaryIn Summary
  • surgicalhospital.com
  • memorialhermann.org
  • faithinpractice.org
  • aahks.org
  • thehealthmuseum.org/index.aspx
  • https://med.uth.edu/ortho/
  • bcm.edu