A knee replacement surgery may be recommended by your doctor if you have a stiff and painful knee that prevents you from doing even the simplest of your daily activities without difficulty. This situation may normally arise in older people with arthritis whose knee joints are worn out or in others where the knee is injured in an accident.
If non-surgical treatment such as medication, physiotherapy or walking supports do not produce the desired results, a knee replacement surgery is one of the most reliable alternative for your problem. While the name “Knee replacement” is a misnomer, what really happens is that your knee itself is not replaced, but the cartilage in the knee joint is replaced with an artificial surface. Cartilage is a soft connective tissue present in all the joints, more flexible than a bone.
The knee joint has a layer of smooth cartilage on the lower end of the femur (thigh bone), the upper end of the tibia (shin bone) and under the knee cap (patella). This cartilage serves as a cushion and allows the smooth movement of the knee. In patients with arthritis, the cartilage gets worn out to the bone. At this point, the rubbing together of the bones causes pain, swelling and stiffness.
The knee replacement surgery replaces the cartilage with a medical grade metal alloy and plastic spacer held together by bone cement. This creates a new smooth cushion for the joint.
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