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.
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.
There are many different types of total knee implants (or prostheses) on the market today. Many of the companies manufacturing these implants advertise the benefits of their particular design directly to consumers.
The basic functionality of all these implants is the same. Moreover, no orthopedic surgeon can reasonably be expected to be experienced in every different design. Therefore, it is most important to consider a surgeon who has done a considerable number of total knee replacements with an implant or implants that have a reasonably long track record.