Knee replacement is the replacement of the joint with a synthetic part through a surgical intervention. It is an implant that is placed in the damaged structure and replaces its function, allowing the patient to move the joint again, eliminating any pain they may have.
The most common reason for a prosthesis to be fitted is due to osteoarthritis of the knee, which is damaging the joint.
But also in cases of fractures where there is great damage to the subchondral bone or certain bone tumours.
What does the operation consist of?
First of all, the patella is removed and the ends of the femur and tibia are cut, with the aim of fitting the prosthesis to the joint space.
The two parts of the prosthesis are then fixed to the various bones with cement or screws.
The focus is then on repairing the tendons and muscles of the joint, as well as closing the incision.
We must bear in mind that, depending on the injury and the amount of bone that is removed, prostheses can be:
→ Total, where the joint is completely replaced. These include:
- Rigid axis prostheses, which are almost never used because they only allow one movement, flexion and extension.
- Joint surface replacement prostheses, where the damaged joint is removed.
- Prostheses with linked components, which provide a great deal of stability due to the link between the tibia and femur. They allow rotation and flexion and extension.
- And self-stable prostheses, where the damaged surface is replaced and provide stability and functionality thanks to their design.
→ On the other hand, there are monocompartmental prostheses. These are used for limited lesions of the joint.
However, surgery is only part of the procedure, because after the operation we must follow the physiotherapist’s guidelines very closely. This is the only way to guarantee a complete and successful recovery.
The physiotherapist will design a series of exercises adapted to the patient and their injury. The aim is always to recover and increase the strength of the muscles, correct any instability and deformity, relieve any pain, eliminate any scar adhesions and improve the patient’s physical function.