Knee replacements have been highly successful for more than 30 years. According to the US National Institutes of Health, 9 out of 10 patients who undergo the procedure report improved pain relief, knee function, and overall health-related quality of life.1
If the surfaces on both sides of the bones, as well as the underside of the patella, are significantly damaged, a total knee replacement is usually considered.
In some cases, however, there may be significant damage on only one side of the joint. In these cases, a partial (unicompartmental) knee replacement may be considered. In a partial knee replacement, only one side of the joint is resurfaced.
On the other hand, your doctor may determine that you can delay or even eliminate the need for a knee replacement by surgically repairing your damaged cartilage with a tissue graft.
It is important to be involved in your recovery, and there are some additional things about knee replacement and knee surgery that you may wish to discuss with your primary doctor and an orthopedic surgeon:
Flexion, or bending, is an important subject when talking with your doctor about which knee replacement is right for you. Many everyday activities require good range of knee motion, such as climbing stairs (75–140 degrees) and sitting in a chair (90–130 degrees). Other activities, such as gardening, golfing, kneeling, or sitting cross-legged, can demand an even greater degree of bending.
Minimally invasive options
Traditional knee replacement surgery involves a long incision (8 to 12 inches) and a lengthy rehabilitation. Over the past decade, however, minimally invasive techniques have been developed to successfully implant the very same clinically proven joints. Today, there are even minimally invasive procedures for partial knee replacement. You and your surgeon can determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery.
Custom-fit: The right fit for nearly every knee
Research proves that differences in bone shape influence the way a knee replacement fits. That's why the custom fit your surgeon can give you makes so much sense.
Here's how it works. Well before the day of your surgery, your doctor may send you for a highly precise MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of your knee. Using this 3-D image and software developed exclusively for this purpose, your surgeon creates a detailed plan for your surgery—including customized instrumentation that shows exactly how your new knee should be positioned. Combining patient-specific instruments with Zimmer's wide range of knee shapes and sizes helps your surgeon give you the best possible fit and outcome.
- Consensus Statement on total knee replacement. NIH Consens State Sci Statements. 2003 Dec 8-10;20(1):1-34