Knee replacement is a surgical procedure to replace a damaged arthritic knee joint with a metal and plastic substitute. The procedure is used for advanced arthritis with pain, stiffness, and deformity.


The majority of procedures replace the entire knee joint because all three compartments of the knee are damaged. In some cases where osteoarthritis is limited to just one part of the knee, Dr. Rector may be able to perform a partial knee replacement.

This less invasive approach can lead to a quicker recovery and less pain after surgery. Also, partial knee replacement spares healthy bone, cartilage, and ligaments, resulting in what most patients describe as a more natural-feeling knee. Read more about the partial knee replacement procedure here.

In total knee replacement, the anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments are removed. The design of the femoral prosthesis compensates for these two ligaments. The end of the femur (thighbone) is covered with a metal prosthesis, which duplicates the normal shape of the femur.

The top of the tibia (leg bone) is covered with a stemmed metal plate that has a replaceable plastic surface. Bone is removed from the back of the patella (kneecap) and it is covered or resurfaced with a small plastic cap. The plastic surface of the tibia and patella articulate or glide on the metal of the femur.

To learn more about the total knee replacement process, please visit Total Knee Replacement.

To learn more about the partial knee replacement process, please visit Partial Knee Replacement.

To learn more about James B. Rector, MD, please visit his profile page.