Knee Replacement Surgery

Exceptional Surgical Techniques for Knee Replacement

When knee pain doesn’t respond to conservative measures like medication and physical therapy, knee replacement surgery is a reliable way to alleviate pain and allow patients to return to normal activities. In this surgery, injured or damaged parts of the joint are replaced with artificial parts made of metal, ceramic or plastic.

Knee replacement surgery is used to treat ongoing and severe knee pain and other knee problems such as stiffness, instability and deformity. These symptoms usually are the result of:

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Post-traumatic arthritis from an injury
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

At Loyola Medicine, you will benefit from a highly experienced orthopaedic surgical team, a multidisciplinary approach to care and advanced surgical procedures, including:

  • High tibial osteotomy
  • Knee revision surgery 
  • Partial knee replacement 
  • Patellar replacement 
  • Total knee replacement

About 85 to 90 percent of knee replacement surgeries at Loyola are successful for 10 years or more.

Why Choose Loyola for Knee Replacement Surgery?

Loyola’s department of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation is comprised of a highly specialized team of surgeons who are board-certified and fellowship-trained. 

If you are having joint replacement surgery, you may be a candidate for a revolutionary use of pain medication that helps manage pain following surgery. Orthopaedists work together with pain management specialists in the department of anesthesiology

If eligible, you may receive a continual peripheral nerve block catheter in which a catheter is placed near the nerve responsible for pain in the upper or lower extremity. The computerized catheter then releases doses of pain medication, bathing the nerve. You can increase the volume and amount you receive based your pain level. 

What Treatment Options are Available for Knee Replacement Surgery?

Loyola’s specialists perform several kinds of knee surgeries, including:

  • High tibial osteotomy — A procedure generally performed to treat arthritis in patients younger than 55 years old. The tibia is cut and realigned, balancing the forces pressing on the knee. This will decrease pain and improve knee function.
     
  • Knee revision surgery — Performed to correct a knee implant that has been damaged from normal wear and tear, infection, loosening or dislocation.
     
  • Partial knee replacement — Removes only the damaged parts of the knee. It is performed for patients who have arthritis in only one area.
     
  • Patellar replacement — A partial replacement procedure in which only the kneecap is removed and replaced.
     
  • Total knee replacement — Uses artificial parts to replace part of the thigh bone, part of the shin bone and sometimes the kneecap.

Sometimes a knee replacement is performed as a minimally invasive surgery that uses smaller incisions, which can offer patients a shorter recovery time and less post-surgical pain. 

What to Expect with Knee Replacement Surgery

Loyola’s clinicians believe strongly in patient education and preparation for any upcoming surgical procedures. Prior to your knee replacement surgery, you may participate in a class led by orthopaedic nurses, physical therapists and social workers. Most classes are held at Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, which offers easy access for you and your family. Classes help you:

  • Determine discharge planning needs such as outpatient physical therapy
  • Identify any special equipment needed at home after surgery
  • Set expectations for recovery
  • Understand the complexities of your surgery

In a knee replacement, your Loyola surgeon will replace the top part of the thigh bone, part of the shin bone and sometimes the patella (kneecap). These parts will form the new joint. The procedure is performed under spinal or general anesthesia.

Knee replacement surgery can vary from patient to patient, but the procedure usually takes about two hours. You will spend two or three days in the hospital recovering afterwards. Full recovery takes about six months.

If arthritis or pain is confined to one part of the knee, a partial knee replacement may be recommended, in which only the damaged bones are replaced. This procedure, also called a unicompartmental knee replacement, typically results in a faster recovery, less pain after surgery and less blood loss. 

Sometimes a knee replacement is performed as a minimally invasive surgery that uses smaller incisions. With this kind of procedure, the patient has less blood loss and a shorter recovery time.

What are the Risks of Knee Replacement Surgery?

Although a knee replacement procedure can help ease pain and restore mobility, there are risks involved with surgery. The risk of recurring pain or stiffness, nerve injuries or bone fractures is small. With any surgery, there is risk of infection, vein thrombosis and blood clots. 

Loyola’s orthopaedic surgeons are highly skilled and recognized for superior patient outcomes, and will work to prevent any surgical complications.