Frequently asked questions about knee replacement.

Frequently asked questions
about knee replacement.


What is total knee replacement?

Total knee replacement replaces damaged cartilage and bone with an artificial surface. A typical total knee replacement implant system includes a metal alloy on the end of the femur (thighbone), a polyethylene (plastic) insert locked onto a metal alloy fixed into the tibia (shinbone) and a polyethylene patella (kneecap) component.


What is XP Preserving Knee replacement?

In patients with a healthy, intact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and/or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the XP Preserving knee enables patients to retain these ligaments. Your surgeon will determine if this is the best option for you.


What are the advantages of ligament preserving knee replacement?

The advantage of ligament preserving knee replacement is that patients are allowed to keep their ACL/PCL (if intact and healthy) that provide stability and control in a normal healthy knee.


How long does the typical knee implant last?

All implants have a limited life expectancy depending on an individual's age, weight, activity level, and medical condition(s). A joint implant's longevity will vary in every patient. It is important to remember that an implant is a medical device that is subject to wear, which may lead to mechanical failure. While following all of your surgeon's recommendations after surgery may enhance longevity, there is no guarantee that your particular implant will last for any specific length of time.


What are the possible complications of joint replacement surgery?

While uncommon, complications can occur during and after surgery. Complications include, but are not limited to infection, blood clots, implant breakage, malalignment, and wear, any of which can require additional surgery. Infection and blood clots are two of the complications that concern surgeons the most. To avoid these complications, surgeons may take various measures, including prescribing antibiotics and blood thinners before and after surgery. Although implant surgery is extremely successful in most cases, some patients still experience pain and stiffness. Factors such as the patient's post-surgical activities and weight can affect longevity. Be sure to discuss these and other risks with your surgeon, and see the "Patient Risk Information" herein.


Do implants fail, and can they be replaced?

The most common reason for implant failure in knee replacements is implant loosening or implant wear that leads to loosening. Implant wear particles can react with the bone, causing thinning of the bone that can lead to implant loosening. In most cases, failed implants can be revised successfully; revision may include a total knee replacement, or replacement component(s). Be sure to discuss these and other risks with your surgeon, and see the "Patient Risk Information" herein.


When should I have this type of surgery?

Your surgeon will evaluate your health history, perform a physical examination, and take X-rays to decide if you are a candidate for this surgery. You must then decide if your discomfort, pain or stiffness, and overall loss of quality of life justify undergoing surgery.


What should I ask my orthopedic surgeon before knee replacement surgery?

If your doctor recommends joint replacement, it is normal to have many questions about the procedure. Below are some of the questions you may want to discuss with your orthopedic surgeon.

  1. What are the risks and potential complications of knee replacement?
  2. How long will the procedure take?
  3. How long will I be in the hospital?
  4. When will I be able to resume normal daily activities?
  5. From which activities will I be permanently restricted?
  6. How much pain relief or increased mobility can I expect?
  7. What, in your opinion, makes this implant the very best available implant for my condition?

Will I notice anything different about my new knee?

Yes, you may have some numbness on the outside of the scar. The area around the scar may feel warm. Kneeling may be uncomfortable for a year or more. You may also notice some clicking when you move your knee as a result of the artificial surfaces coming together. Some patients continue to have pain.


How long until I can walk and resume my normal activities?

Walking with support (cane, crutches, or walker) typically begins the day after surgery. Walking support may be continued for three to four weeks. The hospital can arrange for these devices as needed. If you have a walker, cane or crutches that you regularly use, please bring them to the hospital. Returning to your daily activities will depend somewhat on your individual circumstances. Consult with your surgeon or therapist for advice on acceptable activities.


Will I have any restrictions following this surgery?

Yes, you will most likely be permanently restricted from performing high-impact activities such as running, singles tennis, and basketball. You will also be restricted from performing contact sports, downhill skiing, and other high-impact activities. Biomet does not practice medicine and only your surgeon can give you medical advice.


When will I be able to return to work?

Returning to work depends on your type of work. Office workers often return in two to three weeks, while patients with more strenuous jobs may require more time away from work. The timing of your return to work depends considerably upon your commitment to recovery. You should not return to work until cleared by your surgeon.


Will I need help at home after surgery?

If you go directly home from the hospital you may need assistance with stairs, meal preparation, house cleaning, etc., during your recovery, depending upon your progress.


What kind of activities can patients expect to pursue following joint replacement?

That depends on various factors, including the type of surgery, your health, and your recovery. Typically, patients should be able to return to certain low-impact activities within weeks after surgery. Surgeons generally discourage patients from jarring, high-impact activities, such as running and strenuous sports permanently.