Total Knee Replacement

A knee replacement is a surgical procedure performed to replace the weight-bearing portions of the knee joint. During the procedure, deformity is corrected and range of motion improved. In combination, these measures eliminate pain and improve knee function.


An arthritic knee before and after a total knee replacement





Click on image on to view animation of a total knee replacement







In an effort to improve outcomes and make knee replacements last longer, the science and technology behind knee replacement has steadily evolved over the last 50 years. We have seen several quantum leaps over the last decade. Let us examine some of these advances and their impact.

Minimally Invasive Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery involves making accurate bone cuts to allow the implant to fit well on bone and realign the knee. The surgeon does this with the help of guiding instruments. Traditional guiding instruments were bulky and in order to fit these on the bone prior to cutting, a large skin incision had to be made. With improvements in instrument design, the surgery can now be performed with a much smaller skin incision. This does not only give a better appearance but also reduces pain of surgery and hastens recovery.

A guide used to make an accurate bone cut






Computer Aided Knee Replacement Surgery

Using this technique, markers are placed on bones and instruments. The position of these markers are picked up by a camera and fed into a computer. Software guides the surgeon in making accurate bone cuts. The main advantage of this method is consistency in making ideal cuts. Computer aided knee replacement is particularly useful when a patient has a lower limb deformity away from the knee which makes determining the alignment of the leg difficult with conventional methods.

Computer image the surgeon uses to aid in making the bone cuts




Knee Replacement Surgery with Customized Guides

Cutting guides used in knee replacement surgery requires the surgeon to align them on the bone. This requires both time and judgment. Technology, now, allows the manufacture of guides tailor-made to fit each individual patient. This requires a scan (either CT or MRI) prior to surgery, which allows the fabrication of the cutting guides. The benefits of this are reduced surgical time and more accurate bone cuts.

Customized guides fitting perfectly on bone






For advanced knee arthritis, knee replacement surgery will be of benefit. With modern techniques, instruments and implants, recovery time has been reduced, outcomes have been improved and implant longevity prolonged.