Knee replacement surgery is a procedure to replace the load bearing surfaces of the knee joint. This is also known as knee arthroplasty. The surfaces of the knee joint are covered in articular cartilage which cushions the bones and enables them to move easily. Knee replacement is usually performed because of damage to the articular cartilage, which is known as arthritis.
Total Knee Replacement
All three compartments of the knee are replaced during a total knee replacement. This is the most common type of knee replacement. Many different designs and materials can be used, most consist of three components: the femoral component (made of a highly polished strong metal), the tibial component (made of a durable plastic, often held in a metal tray), and the patellar component (also plastic).
The procedure usually takes one or two hours. Prof Jari will remove the damaged cartilage and bone and then position the new metal and plastic joint surfaces to restore the alignment and function of your knee.
X-ray comparison of total and partial knee replacements
Difference in scars for a less invasive Total Knee Replacement vs a normal Total Knee Replacement
Partial Knee Replacement
A partial knee replacement, also known as a unicompartmental knee replacement, can be performed if damage to the knee is limited to a single part, or compartment, of the knee. The knee replacement can be inserted through a relatively small incision (around 3″-4″) without interrupting the main muscle controlling the knee. Because of this, rehabilitation and return to normal activities are faster than after a total knee replacement.
Partial knee replacements are less suitable for the young and active because it is less able to withstand the stress of an active lifestyle. It is best suited for older and slimmer people with relatively sedentary lifestyles. Only 6-8% of patients are good candidates for a unicompartmental knee replacement.
Less Invasive Knee Replacement
A less invasive knee replacement where the knee joint is replaced without cutting the quadriceps tendon or disturbing the kneecap. This is done using specialised tools through small incisions and is still a relatively new approach to total knee replacement surgery. The advantages of less invasive knee replacement can include faster rehabilitation and a shorter hospital stay, possibly less pain and, in some cases, a greater range of motion can be achieved.
The procedure is much more challenging from a surgical point of view: the most crucial element of any knee replacement is correctly aligning the replacement, and this requires much more skill when using a less invasive approach. This is reflected by the increased risk of complications. It is not suitable for all patients.
Customised Knee Replacement
Despite recent advances, studies show that as many as 1 in 5 patients report they are not satisfied with the results of their total knee replacement. Knees vary in size and shape: even your own two knees are different. Traditionally a surgeon would select an ‘off-the-shelf’ replacement from standard sizes. These replacements aren’t designed to your specific anatomy so there is a compromise on fit, rotation, and alignment. These compromises can cause discomfort or pain after surgery, and many patients also complain that their knee feels wobbly.
To provide patients with better results, ConforMIS have developed the only customised total knee replacement that is designed specifically for your knee. A 3D model of your knee is created from a CT scan, which is made into a replacement that’s unique to you.
The ConforMIS knee system is generally not available through the NHS but is available privately and is funded by nearly all major healthcare insurers in the UK. It is also available to self-pay patients.
The appropriate treatment for you depends on many factors and will have to be assessed by the specialist treating you. Please get in touch if you wish to book a consultation with Professor Jari, Manchester’s leading Knee Surgeon.