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Knee Replacement Surgery

When your knee is badly damaged by disease or injury, an artificial knee replacement may be considered. During knee replacement surgery, your joint surfaces are replaced by prostheses. These are plastic and metal parts that are used to replace your joint surfaces.

Why might I need knee replacement surgery?

Osteoarthritis is the most common problem that leads to knee replacement surgery. This is a “wear and tear” joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older adults. Osteoarthritis leads to the breakdown of joint cartilage, and then bone, in your knees.

Other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis caused by a knee injury, can also lead to degeneration of your knee joint. Fractures, torn cartilage, or torn ligaments also can lead to permanent damage to your knee joint over time.

The decision to replace the painful knee with an artificial one is a joint decision between you and your healthcare provider. Other treatments may be used first. These include lubricating injections, steroid injections, physical therapy, assistive walking devices, and anti-inflammatory medicines that help with pain and swelling.

What are the risks of knee replacement surgery?

As with most surgeries, knee replacement surgery has risks. General anesthesia is used to put you into a deep sleep during surgery. Anesthesia poses risks for some people. Other potential risks include:

  • Blood clots in your legs
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Long-term risks are not common, but can include:
  • Implant problems, such as wear and loosening
  • Scarring that can limit range of motion
  • Continued pain

There may be other risks, depending on your specific health condition. Talk about any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call:

  • SBL Bonutti Clinic at 217 342-3400, or
  • SBL Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at 217 238-3435

For more information on this topic, visit our Health Library.

Knee replacement