Total knee arthroplasty, or replacement, is a surgical procedure in which a diseased or damaged kne...
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Total knee arthroplasty, or replacement, is a surgical procedure in which a diseased or damaged knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint. Your knee is made up of the lower end of your thighbone, or femur; the upper end of the shinbone, or tibia; and the kneecap or patella. Most replacement joints consist of a metal femoral component; a plastic tibial component held in a metal tray; and a plastic patellar component. The procedure begins with an incision on the front of the knee and the kneecap is moved to the side. Damaged bone and cartilage at the end of the femur are cut away and the bone is measured and cut to fit into the femoral component, which is then attached. Next, damaged bone and cartilage at the top of the tibia are cut away and the bone is measured and cut to fit into the tibial component. A metal tray is fit against the flat-cut top of the bone with its stem inserted into the bone. A plastic insert is snapped into the tibial tray. The femoral component slides on it when the knee is bent. The damaged portion of the kneecap may be replaced by a mushroom shaped prosthesis. The resectioned patella and prosthesis are attached to other components. Measurements and tests to ensure balance and movement are done during and after surgery. Knee replacement can significantly reduce pain and improve function. Like all surgery, there are associated risks. Physical therapy and realistic expectations are important for successful recovery.