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Understanding Knee Replacement Surgery: Procedure, Types, and Potential Risks

Among orthopaedic surgeries, knee replacement is recommended for those suffering from severe pain and impacted mobility due to knee-joint disease. Patients suffering from various knee problems often seek knee replacement surgery to eliminate or lessen knee pain. It increases mobility and enhances the quality of life.

Anyone experiencing persistent knee pain problems might consider getting knee replacement surgery. But, due to a lack of knowledge of this procedure, people often take medications to temporarily suppress the pain, thereby becoming dependent on them.

This article will provide a clear insight into knee replacement surgery, along with its varying procedures, types, and potential risks. It will help you decide whether it is apt for you.

What is Knee Replacement Surgery?

Knee replacement is the procedure where some or most of the knee joint is removed and replaced with prosthetic implants. The primary purpose of this surgery is to relieve the stiffness due to osteoarthritis or chronic knee pain due to inflammation.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which affects older and middle-aged adults. It causes a breakdown of the adjacent bone and joint cartilage within the knees. Apart from that, rheumatoid arthritis results in synovial membrane inflammation and releases excessive fluid. Thus, it leads to stiffness and causes pain.

Irrespective of the type of arthritis you experience, you might have symptoms such as body alignment changes, instability, pain, stiffness and others. In some cases, accidental injury might also lead to cartilage damage because of the knee.

The goal of this procedure is to resurface the knee joint parts and relieve pain. The surgery is a last resort if other treatments don’t help the patient recover.

Types of Knee Replacement Surgery

There are two types of knee replacement surgeries; total knee replacement and partial knee replacement:

  1. Total Knee Replacement

In this procedure, the entire joint is replaced with artificial implants or prosthetics. It is the traditional method of repairing the damaged knee, which started in 1968. Technological advancements in surgery have led to highly functional knee implants that replicate the movement of the human knee.

The surgeon uses specific surgical tools for cutting away the arthritic or damaged bone. They shape the healthy bone underneath to ensure it fits well with the implants.

  1. Partial Knee Replacement

Partial knee replacement is also known as a uni-compartmental procedure, ideal for some people. In this treatment approach, a part of your knee will be replaced to try and preserve most parts of the original bone.

People suffering from osteoarthritis in a portion of the knee are ideal candidates for this surgery. It is done on one of the three anatomical knee compartments, medial, lateral, or patella femoral.

During this procedure, the surgeon will remove the arthritic knee portion, along with the bone and its cartilage. The compartment will then be replaced with plastic and metal components. Partial knee replacement surgery involves a shorter stay at the hospital and less pain, blood loss, and trauma.

Read: How To Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis Permanently?

Potential Risks Associated with Knee Replacement Surgery

Some of the potential risks associated with knee replacement surgery include:

  • Side Effects Due to General Anaesthesia

General anaesthesia in knee replacement surgery can cause the patient to experience headaches, excessive drowsiness, nausea, or sore throat.

  • Infection

The surgical incision can be an entry point for bacteria to cause infection. The surgeons take precautions to minimise this risk during surgery.

  • Bleeding

In rare cases, a patient might lose blood, triggering the need for an immediate transfusion. At times, after the surgery, there’s a risk of blood clots and swelling. The doctors will need to release the trapped blood immediately.

  • Pain & Swelling

Pain & swelling is common after any surgery. If the pain continues to persist after a couple of months of surgery, then your doctors might have to find the underlying cause and treat it.

  • Breathing Problems

Breathing problems might arise for patients who have been operated under general anaesthesia. If an insufficient amount of air reaches your lungs, it might trigger the formation of mucus, leading to pneumonia.


This article has discussed the purpose, types, and risks associated with knee replacement surgery. If you have been going through knee pain for a long time now, consult an orthopaedic surgeon immediately. Leading hospitals offer optimal treatment and care solutions supervised by the best-in-class doctors. Get in touch with them to know more about knee replacement surgery options!



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