Artificial knee joint | knee prosthesis from the specialist
An artificial knee joint can fundamentally change the life of an affected person. It can relieve pain and restore mobility. However, the decision to have a knee replacement is a big one and requires weighing the pros and cons. Of course, since this procedure requires the necessary expertise, you want to be sure that you are being treated by an experienced surgeon who already has the expertise that this field requires, so that you can receive the best possible care.
I – Dr. Martin Gruber – have specialized in the medical treatment of knee pain and in the course of this have performed several thousand knee operations. In my practice at MZA – the Alserstraße Medical Center – I have been caring for patients of all ages, backgrounds and genders for years. Thanks to the latest surgical techniques and technologies, we can help you in the best possible way and find the most suitable therapeutic approach for you. In the course of this a first anamnesis is necessary – .
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What is meant by an artificial knee joint?
An artificial knee joint, also called a knee prosthesis, is a replacement for a natural knee joint. In particular, it replaces the worn cartilaginous sliding and surfaces of the knee. It can be made of metal, plastic or ceramic and is inserted during surgery. In this procedure, the damaged, diseased parts in the knee joint are removed during surgery and replaced with the artificial implant. Depending on the extent of the osteoarthritis, either the entire knee joint is replaced (total knee arthroplasty), or only part of the affected joint section is replaced.
When do you need an artificial knee joint?
In some cases, my patients’ knee osteoarthritis has progressed to such an extent that it is no longer possible to achieve the desired healing stage with conservative therapies and the implantation of a knee prosthesis is unavoidable. Because osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that worsens over time, the cartilage damage can become so extensive that conservative therapy (e.g., medication or physical therapy) does not improve symptoms.
If a patient with severe knee osteoarthritis still has problems after physiotherapy and “cartilage-building” therapy and no improvement in symptoms is seen, knee replacement must be considered.
Clear indicators of the need for a knee prosthesis are the occurrence of night and rest pain, significant reduced mobility in the knee joint, and any associated discomfort that may interfere with pain-free management of everyday life. X-rays and MRIs are used to determine which parts of the knee need to be replaced and whether a knee arthroplasty is necessary. Such a clinical picture shows to what degree the cartilages are damaged and whether a knee prosthesis is necessary. The medical images from X-rays and MRIs help the treating orthopedic surgeon or knee specialist make a diagnosis and provide the information needed to decide how to proceed and choose the right knee prosthesis.
The most important indicators for the operation of an artificial knee joint at a glance:
Prerequisites for the insertion of a knee prosthesis
In order to successfully insert a knee endoprosthesis, various factors must be considered in addition to the condition of the cartilage damage. Prerequisites for the insertion of an artificial knee joint are:
It must also be ensured that the patient’s blood clotting function is normal and that there are no contraindications to general anesthesia. If these conditions are met, there is nothing standing in the way of knee surgery.
What is the procedure for artificial knee joint surgery?
The artificial knee joint is inserted during surgery. Depending on the extent of the damage to the knee joint, part of the knee may be replaced or it may be necessary to replace it completely. This decision is made by the attending physician based on X-rays and MRI scans prior to surgery.
If only a partial artificial knee replacement is required, only the damaged area of cartilage and bone is removed and replaced with an artificial implant. In this case, however, only one half or two thirds of the knee joint is replaced. Advantages of this procedure are that less bone tissue needs to be removed and that blood loss during surgery is significantly less. However, there is a risk that the artificial joint will become more worn over time and it may be necessary to replace the joint.
At the beginning of the procedure, you will receive general anesthesia and will not feel any pain during the procedure. The patient lies flat on his back in the operating room during this procedure. The skin is incised lengthwise in the midline of the leg, from slightly below where the patellar tendon meets the kneecap, upward to just above where the edge of the kneecap begins. To obtain a better view of the tibiofemoral joint, the patella is moved to the side after opening the joint. Then the diseased cartilage and bones of the knee joint are removed. In order to ensure a firm fit of the artificial knee joint, the implant is precisely adapted in size to the patient’s knee and fixed to the cut surfaces of the bone. At the end of the operation, the stability and mobility of the knee prosthesis is checked by moving the knee thoroughly to ensure the best possible result.
Options for knee replacement
Unicondylar surface replacement
If the joint surface is damaged only on one side of the knee, only this side is replaced. The advantages of this are that it is a much smaller procedure, the patient feels more natural about it, and healing occurs more quickly. Furthermore, this procedure is not an obstacle should a total surface replacement be necessary at a later date. The procedure is performed in a clinic.
Bicondylar surface replacement
Here, the entire sliding surfaces of the knee joint are replaced. The knee will be able to bear full weight again with the new surfaces after physiotherapy. In most cases, the decisive factor for success is not whether the latest generation of implants is used, but the surgeon’s knowledge of the ligament tension conditions within the knee joint and experience.
Artificial knee joint
The last resort for a broken knee is total knee replacement – the artificial knee. In this procedure, large parts of the joint are removed from both the lower and upper leg and a completely new joint is inserted. In medicine, artificial knee replacement is a very successful surgical procedureandis now widely used to drastically change the quality of life of the affected person(s). The joint replacement is made of metal and plastic. Here, the upper and lower leg components are made of metal, with the intervening sliding surface made of polyethylene. The knee prosthesis can additionally replace the kneecap.
Are you looking for a specialist in knee replacements? Visit me in my practice at MZA – together we will find the most suitable therapy solution for you!
What are the risks and side effects of knee replacement?
As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with the use of the artificial knee joint. These include:
Fortunately, the risk of inflammation after the insertion of a knee prosthesis is low and affects only one in a hundred patients operated on. To avoid possible risks, the instructions of the attending physician must be strictly observed!
What do I have to take into account after the operation of an artificial knee joint?
You will stay in the hospital or clinic for the first few days after surgery. During this time, the nursing staff will take care of you and make sure that your wound heals well and that you are pain-free. You will also receive physical therapy to help you regain strength and mobility in your knee as soon as possible.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s or physical therapist’s instructions carefully to ensure a successful outcome of the surgery. Depending on how well the healing process goes, you can expect to be discharged from the hospital within one to two weeks. After that, you should continue physical therapy at home or in an outpatient rehabilitation facility to ensure optimal rehabilitation and return to the old strength of your joints soon. It is important to move as much as possible to avoid stiffening the joint and surrounding muscles.
Aftercare after knee TEP summarized:
Is the operation of an artificial knee joint dangerous?
No, the operation of an artificial knee joint is not dangerous. However, there are always certain risks associated with surgery. These include: Infections, blood clot formation and secondary bleeding, deep vein thrombosis, nerve damage and blood clots. Joint stiffness is also a common side effect after surgery. Therefore, the stay in the clinic where the treatment was performed is inevitable after the operation. It is important that you follow your doctor’s or physical therapist’s instructions carefully to ensure a successful outcome of the surgery. Depending on how well the healing process goes, you can expect to be discharged from the hospital within one to two weeks. After that, you should continue physical therapy at home or at an outpatient rehabilitation facility.
Can you run/walk or do sports again after the operation?
Yes, you will be able to run/walk or play sports again after surgery. However, for best results, it is important that you follow your doctor’s or physical therapist’s instructions carefully to ensure a successful outcome. During a surgery debriefing, you will be shown the recommended rest periods and explained when you can resume (intensive) sports. If you have concerns about whether you should participate in a particular activity, please consult your physician or physical therapist.
How long does an artificial knee joint (knee TEP) last?
The service life of an artificial knee joint depends on many factors, such as the patient’s age and weight, the type of activity the patient performs, and the quality of the implant. In general, however, most artificial knee joints can last 10 to 20 years. With proper care and maintenance, some patients can even extend the life of their artificial knee joint beyond 20 years.
Who performs knee arthroplasty surgery?
Knee arthroplasty is usually performed by an orthopedic surgeon. Often, the treating physician specializes in the knee and associated resurfacing.