KNEE SURGERY

WHEN WILL A KNEE PROSTHESIS BE PLACED?

A knee prosthesis (= an artificial knee) is placed in case of severe damage to the knee joint. The cause of this damage is usually osteoarthritis or a rheumatic condition. This causes pain and malfunctions. The damage can be seen on an x-ray of the knee.

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Your knee is a hinge joint that consists of 3 parts: the lower thigh, the top of the shin and the kneecap. The ends of the femur and tibia are covered with a layer of cartilage. This is elastic and absorbs shocks and bumps, so that the knee can move smoothly. Between the two bones are the inner and outer meniscus that also absorb shocks and reduce the friction in the knee. The knee capsule encloses the entire joint and makes the synovial fluid that lubricates the cartilage. This fluid also ensures less friction in the knee. The front cruciate ligament is located in the middle of the knee joint. This prevents the lower leg from moving too far forward during walking and making rotational movements. And finally the kneecap is on the front.

WEAR OF THE CARTILAGE IS CALLED OSTEOARTHRITIS

Such wear is a normal aging process that occurs in everyone.

In some people wear is faster. Causes of this are abnormal load, an accident, or shape deviations of the knee joint.

There is certainly also an important family predisposition. Wear is not always due to a specific cause.

Such wear causes pain. When the pain can no longer be remedied by other means, a knee prosthesis will be proposed.

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THE KNEE PROSTHESIS

There are two types: the total and half knee prostheses. The most commonly used is the total knee prosthesis, which replaces all the cartilage of the femur and tibia.

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When only the inside or outside of the knee needs to be replaced, a half knee prosthesis (also called hemi knee prosthesis or unicondylar prosthesis) is used. Nowadays there is also a special women’s model that is better adapted to the average size of women.

The knee operation is no small matter and the recovery requires a lot of will and effort, but through proper preparation you can save unnecessary tensions and disappointments.

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THE KNEE OPERATION

During the procedure, you will receive antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. The surgery takes about 1.5 hours. During the knee operation the knee is opened at the front by a vertical cut of about twenty cm. The surgeon removes the affected joint surfaces. With special instruments the bone is adapted to the shape of the prosthesis, so that a good anchoring is possible. A plastic disc between the metal parts of the prosthesis ensures that the knee can pivot smoothly. Generally no kneecap prosthesis is placed, because special treatment of the own kneecap ensures that hardly any complaints of the kneecap remain. Experience from America has shown that arthritic disks have a complication risk in the short and long term to about 10%! Therefore, a kneecap prosthesis is only placed on indication. These indications are: (serious) rheumatism or severe knee-caries.