Total Knee Replacement

The most common cause of damage which leads to a knee replacement is arthritis

The knee joint is made up of the bone in the top of the leg (the femur), one of the bones in the bottom of the leg (the tibia), and the kneecap (the patella). All these bones have a smooth cartilage lining, which means a healthy knee joint can move freely and painlessly.
The most common cause of damage which leads to a knee replacement is arthritis. Arthritis causes the cartilage in your knee to wear away, and expose the bone which is no longer protected. This means the knee will be painful, stiff and commonly deformed, often having a significant effect on your life.

A knee replacement is an operation which involves replacing a damaged knee joint with an artificial one. Usually, the ends of the two bones making up the knee joint are replaced with metal surfaces, and a plastic bearing is inserted to act as the cartilage (a total knee replacement).

Knee replacements usually are of Total in variety. This essentially means that both the lower end of the thigh bone (femur) and upper end of the leg bone (tibia) which make up the knee joint are replaced by metal surfaces and a plastic bearing is inserted in between. The back of the knee cap (patella) will be replaced by a plastic disc but not in all cases. The decision to perform this is taken at the time of surgery when your knee is opened. Sometimes, only one part of the knee is replaced (a partial or uni-compartmental replacement or patello-femoral knee replacement), and sometimes, the underside of the kneecap is trimmed and a plastic button inserted to help smooth the knee movements.

A knee replacement will aim to relieve your pain, and improve your movement, strength and walking. About 8 out of 10 people say they are happy with their knee replacement, 1 in 10 are unsure and 1 in 10 are disappointed.

For further information download our total knee replacment leaflet