Knee Replacement


Is Knee Replacement Right For You?

Over time, the cartilage that cushions your bones can wear away and cause discomfort and pain from simple activities like walking. Total or partial knee replacement can help to reduce or eliminate pain by resurfacing the worn out surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components.

Who Is Knee Replacement For?

Knee replacement is generally considered for those suffering from arthritic knee pain that severely limits daily living activities, when exercise, physical therapy, and medication have been ineffective. Knee replacement surgery is recognized as one of the most successful procedures in medicine, with many reporting fast pain relief, improved mobility, and better quality of life.

Types of Knee Replacement

West Suburban Medical Center offers two different kinds of knee replacement surgeries: total knee replacement and partial knee replacement.

In total knee replacement, all three surfaces of the femur, the tibia, and the patella that meet are replaced with metal and plastic, keeping the joint from grinding together. If the arthritis and grinding is limited to just one area of the knee, you may be a candidate for partial knee replacement, in which only part of the knee is resurfaced. Partial knee replacement allows for smaller incisions, less trauma to the bone and surrounding tissue, and a quicker recovery time compared to total knee replacement.

Although you’ll experience discomfort after surgery, many patients are able to leave the hospital after two or three days, often after just one day for partial replacement. Most people who receive knee surgery will need help from a walker or cane for two to four weeks afterward and can be driving in two to three weeks. For partial knee replacement, activities like golfing, dancing, and bowling can be resumed in four to six weeks, but total knee replacement patients usually can start these activities in as few as 10 to 12 weeks. Keep in mind that these healing times vary for each person.

As with any surgery, both total and partial knee replacement come with risks. Possible complications include:

  • Blood clots in your leg veins
  • Infection
  • Implant loosening
  • Fractures
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage

Complications are relatively rare, but they need to be understood before you undergo surgery. Feel free to ask your surgeon any questions that you may have about the risks associated with knee replacement.