Knee problems such as osteoarthritis (also called degenerative arthritis), rheumatoid arthritis and past injury can cause the bone and cartilage in the joint to wear away. This wear and tear can cause knee pain.
If nonsurgical treatment isn't helping you, knee replacement surgery may be an option. During a knee replacement, the surgeon removes worn-out pieces of bone and cartilage and replaces them with metal and plastic implants. The main goal of this procedure is to reduce your knee pain; it may also improve function and reduce or eliminate a limp.
Do I Need Knee Replacement Surgery?
Not everyone with knee pain needs knee replacement surgery. But if your pain prevents you from doing everyday tasks or walking independently, knee replacement may be an option for you.
These are some reasons you might be a good candidate for knee replacement surgery:
- Medication and other conservative treatments, like physical therapy, have not helped you.
- Your knee pain interferes with your ability to function on a daily basis.
- An orthopedic specialist or rheumatologist has told you that you have arthritis of your knee.
Types of Knee Replacement Surgeries
Joint replacement surgeons at RUSH perform the following types of knee replacement surgery:
- Total or "full" knee replacement surgery
- Partial knee replacement surgery, in which surgeons replace only part of your damaged knee
- Repeat (or revision) knee replacement for past knee replacements that fail
Your surgeon will talk with you about all of the available options and decide which is best for you.
Minimally Invasive Total Knee Replacement Surgery
At RUSH, our surgeons are able to perform most knee replacement surgery through a small incision instead of the large 8- to 12-inch incision used in traditional knee replacement.
Your joint replacement surgeon will talk to you about which approach will give you the best results. These are some reasons you may be a good candidate for minimally invasive knee replacement surgery:
- Your knee structure is stable and you don't have severe bone loss around your knee
- You have not had previous open knee surgery on the same knee
- Your weight is proportionate to your height
There are several potential advantages to minimally invasive total knee replacement surgery:
- Less damage to the muscles and tendons
- Increased range of motion sooner after surgery
- Less blood loss
- Less scarring
- Shorter hospital stay (more than 92% of patients leave the hospital the same day)
- Faster recovery
Robotic-Assisted Knee Replacement Surgery
Some RUSH joint replacement surgeons offer robotic-assisted partial and total knee replacement.
This innovative procedure makes it possible for your surgeon to create a 3D virtual model of your joint. They then use the model to determine the optimal size, placement and alignment of your implant.
During the procedure, your surgeon is guided by real-time data so they can continuously assess your joint and make adjustments to your surgical plan as needed. The system also creates a virtual boundary to help your surgeon remove bone and cartilage from your knee with greater precision.
Benefits of robotic-assisted knee replacement may include the following:
For total knee replacement surgery
- It enables surgeons to execute their surgical plans more accurately
- It protects soft tissues and ligaments from damage
- Patients report less pain and higher overall satisfaction 6 months after surgery than patients who had a conventional knee replacement
For partial knee replacement surgery
- It enables more accurate bone removal and implant placement, which may result in better outcomes and knee function
- Patients experience less pain after surgery than with conventional knee replacement
- You have a shorter hospital stay and, typically, a quicker recovery; most patients are able to walk without a cane or walker as little as three weeks after the procedure
- High patient satisfaction; 91% of patients report being satisfied or very satisfied five years after surgery
You joint replacement surgeon will discuss your options with you and determine the approach that will give you the best possible results.
RUSH Excellence in Knee Replacement Surgery
- Nationally recognized orthopedic care: U.S. News & World Report ranked RUSH University Medical Center No. 8 in the nation for orthopedics.
- Experienced joint replacement surgeons: When it comes to knee replacement surgery, the experience of your surgeon can make a big difference in how well you do after the procedure. RUSH joint replacement surgeons located in and around Chicago are among the most experienced in the U.S., performing more than 2,400 knee replacements each year. Our expertise informs every aspect of your care, ensuring that your procedure and recovery are as smooth and pain-free as possible.
- Leaders in minimally invasive surgery: Our surgeons are highly skilled at minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, which can help you have a faster, less painful recovery. In fact, RUSH surgeons helped develop this procedure and were the first to perform it as an outpatient procedure. As a result of our expertise, many of our knee replacement patients are able to leave the hospital the same day.
- A team approach: In addition to knee replacement surgeons, knee replacement care at RUSH includes dedicated nurses, physician assistants, physiatrists, and physical and occupational therapists. We focus, individually and collectively, on helping you recover from your procedure and getting you back on the path toward an active life.
- Leaders on a national scale: Our knee replacement surgeons are among the nation's premier thought leaders and researchers. They have published thousands of papers, co-written and edited dozens of text books, and presented their research at conferences around the world. Our surgeons have also held leadership positions with a number of prestigious national organizations.