Knee Replacement Surgery

If you suffer from debilitating pain in your knee, you know how much it can limit your movement and ability to perform every day activities. You may even have pain that interrupts your sleep. You may experience swelling and stiffness, and your knee may be warm to the touch.

In general, severe knee damage that results from arthritis or injury is initially treated with exercise, self-help devices such as knee braces or orthotics, over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs, vitamin and herbal supplements, steroid injections or some combination of these. In some cases, your physician may perform arthroscopy. When these treatments no longer offer pain relief, you may begin to consider having a knee replacement.

Diagnostic Tests

To help determine if you are a candidate for knee replacement surgery, your physician may use diagnostic tests to determine the location and severity of damage in your knee joint. In range-of-motion testing, the physician measures the amount of movement your knee has in a specific direction, and compares this to normal ranges. Restrictions in the range of motion indicate some type of dysfunction. Other tests, such as x-rays and MRIs, produce images of the internal structures of your knee that your physician can review.

Knee Replacement at Baptist

With the joint replacement program at Baptist, patient education and support begins at the time the surgery is scheduled, and continues through the hospital stay and the recovery process at home. The patient's family members and primary care physician- or hospitalist on staff at Baptist - are involved in the patient's care from pre-admission through discharge. This constant communication contributes to quality care and good patient experiences, which are our priority at Baptist.

Orthopedic Surgeons at Baptist

The first step in having knee replacement surgery at Baptist is being seen by one of our physicians. All orthopedic surgeons on staff at Baptist are board certified, and many have sub-specialty training within the field of orthopedic surgery. Each year, our physicians perform more than 1,100 joint replacement surgeries. 

Surgical Navigation System for Precise Placement of Joints

At Baptist, orthopedic surgeons may use a computer navigated system to help pinpoint alignment for knee and hip replacements, and more recently, hip resurfacing procedures. Like global position systems (GPS) help drivers arrive at exact destinations in the world, the computer-assisted surgical system helps surgeons align the patient's bones and replacement implants with a degree of accuracy not possible with the naked eye or traditional instrumentation. Research has proven that with the assistance of computer navigation, the procedure is less invasive and the overall alignment of the joint is better than when traditional instruments are used alone.

Types of Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement

During a total knee replacement, an orthopedic surgeon removes all the damaged cartilage and bone of the knee joint, and then positions the new metal and plastic surfaces joint of a prosthetic knee joint to restore the alignment and function of your knee. The procedure itself takes approximately two hours.

Many different types of designs and materials are currently used in prosthetic knee joints for total knee replacement surgery. Almost all of these consist of three components:

  • the femoral component, made of a highly polished strong metal, which is at the top of the joint toward the thigh.
  • the tibial component, made of a durable plastic often held in a metal tray, located at the bottom of the joint toward the calf
  • the patellar component, also plastic, also call the kneecap.

Partial Knee Replacement

The knee joint has three compartments: the inner (medial) compartment, the outer (lateral) compartment, and the kneecap (patellofemoral) compartment. If knee damage is limited to either the medial or lateral compartment, that compartment may be replaced with a partial (or unilateral) knee implant.

Partial knee replacement is a viable alternative in limited situations. If two or more compartments are damaged, partial knee replacement may not be the best option. Partial knee replacement is also less desirable for a young, active person because it may not withstand the extremes of stress that high levels of activity create. Only between 6 and 8 out of 100 patients with arthritic knees are good candidates for partial knee replacement.

Minimally invasive techniques

Some patients may be candidates for knee replacement surgery using minimally invasive techniques. In this type procedure, the incisions are approximately half the size of those used in a standard approach. The smaller incisions and new techniques to expose the joint may result in short-term advantages such as a quicker rehabilitation, less pain, and a shorter hospitalization.

The minimally invasive approach to the total knee replacement is appropriate for non-obese patients who have reasonable motion without significant deformity. Hospitalization may be reduced to 1 to 3 days among these patients, and the need for an extended stay for inpatient rehabilitation may be reduced or eliminated in most patients.

Pain after Surgery

Baptist's Joint Replacement program focuses on pain management, recovery and an early return to normal activities. To help control pain after surgery, an optional, but recommended, anesthesia-administered nerve block is available prior to surgery. For the first 24 hours following surgery, most patients are on pain medication delivered via IV. After that point, if possible, most patients are transitioned to oral pain medications. In all cases, pain medication is individualized for each patient to minimize discomfort.

Recovery and Return to Normal Activities

Most patients can expect recovery from knee replacement surgery to last from six to eight weeks. At Baptist, recovery begins right away with group inpatient rehab, held on the Joint Replacement Unit. Therapists get patients up and moving as soon as possible to promote healing as blood flow to the knee is increased, and to restore movement.

Outpatient Physical Therapy

After discharge from the hospital, your recovery will continue under the guidance of therapists in our outpatient physical therapy program. Baptist has locations for outpatient therapy throughout the metro Jackson area, so you can get care in a facility that is most convenient to you.
Learn about Baptist's Physical Therapy program

Get your knee replaced at Baptist

If you would like to become a patient at Baptist, the first step is seeing one of our physicians. You can request a referral by using our online form, or by calling the Baptist Health Line at 601-948-6262 or 1-800-948-6262. Health Line hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST.

Request a referral online.

If you still have questions about knee replacement surgery at Baptist, please call our Health Line. Nurses and other professionals there can help you decide your next steps. Call 601-948-6262 or 1-800-948-6262. Or, use the Contact Us link to send your question.

Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

Learn about computer-assisted joint replacement in the video below.

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