Understanding Partial and Total Knee Replacement

Many people who suffer from serious degenerative joint disease or serious injury can now get knee replacement surgery that relieves pain and restores functions to this critical joint of the body. New knee replacement surgery removes damaged bone and replaces it with implants made of high-tech plastic and metal to allow the person to use their knee joints much like a natural knee.

What Is Total Knee Replacement?

In total replacement procedures, the entire knee joint is removed and replaced with a plastic and metal artificial knee. This is major surgery that requires a lengthy recovery period and some physical therapy to ensure full range of motion for the new knee.

What Is Partial Knee Replacement?

Partial replacement surgery removes only the damaged part of the joint and replaces it with an implant of artificial materials. This replacement of part of the knee joint may be sufficient to relieve pain and restore full mobility to the patient. As with total replacement, physical therapy is needed after surgery to ensure full range of motion of the new components. However, a total replacement may still be necessary at a later time if the underlying disease condition continues to degenerate other parts of the knee joint.

Knee Replacement Cost

The cost for either partial or total replacement surgery can vary widely across the country. Generally, total knee replacement costs around $45,000. Partial knee replacement costs about half this amount. Knee replacement surgery is usually covered under health insurance policies.

New Knee Replacement Surgery

In these procedures, the patient is put to sleep with general anesthesia so they remain comfortable during the surgery. An incision is then made in the knee joint, usually at the front of the knee. New techniques allow the surgeon to work within an incision only a few inches long. The damaged parts of the knee joint are then removed with a variety of surgical instruments. The implant is then fitted into position, and the incision is closed. Patients are generally encouraged to begin walking the day after their surgery. Knee surgery recovery time continues over several weeks. Almost all patients are delighted with the results of their new knee replacement surgery.

Knee Replacement Recovery Time

Recovery time after partial knee replacement is generally shorter than for total knee replacement. After partial replacement, patients are able to do most tasks after 4 to 6 weeks. After total replacement, patients can resume most activities after 8 to 12 weeks.

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