Total Knee Replacement Basics

This section is meant to be a very rudimentary introduction to total knee replacements. There are many excellent resources available if you are comtemplating a total knee replacement. One source of information I like is from Stryker. First of all, there is a lot of information on their website about various options to help with knee pain, including total knee replacement. Secondly, through their website I was able to view a live operation to do a total knee replacement (not for the faint of heart!). Bear in mind that Stryker is but one of several manufacturers of knee replacement hardware.

During a typical total knee replacement essentially all the muscles in and around your knee are abused. They will be sore after the operation. The top of your tibia (shin bone) is shaved or cut off, and replaced with a metal/ceramic/plastic cap that is usually screwed into place. The end of your femur (thigh bone) is cut off, and replaced with a metal/ceramic/plastic device that is screwed and/or glued into place. These metal devices will rest on and rotate on a thin disc inserted between them. Your patella (knee cap) will be left, partially removed and patched, or totally replaced depending upon its condition. All this is why I hesitated for a few months before finally deciding to go ahead with my total knee replacements. I am very happy with my decision.

Right now I have both of my knees replaced (the first in May, 2006, and the second in August, 2006). I have been told that the experience of having a total knee replacement varies widely from person to person, and even for the same person (two knees replaced, two different experiences). So the information I provide is based on only two examples plus a few comments from friends.

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