3 Components of a Knee Replacement

When advanced arthritis or a severe injury extensively damages the structures in your knee, you have only one treatment option, and that’s to replace the joint. When you face that decision, it helps to know that a knee replacement does an exceptional job of reducing your pain.

In fact, 90% of people who get a replacement experience significant pain relief. You can also expect your knee replacement to last 15-25 years, especially when your replacement surgery is in the hands of an experienced orthopedic surgeon like Andrew B. Richardson, MD.

If you’re considering getting a knee replacement, we’re here to examine your joint and answer your questions. In this blog, we provide a rundown on the three components of knee replacement surgery. These three components represent the three bones that make up your knee joint, as well as the three primary parts of your new knee.

Femoral component

The femoral component refers to the prosthetic implant that replaces the end of your femur, or thigh bone. We remove all of the damaged bone and cartilage at the end of the femur. Then we carefully cut the end of the bone and resurface it to fit the femoral component of your artificial knee implant.

The femoral implant is made of metal that curves over the front and back of the bone. The prosthetic piece recreates the natural shape of your original femur, which is essential for proper knee function.

Tibial component

This part of your knee implant replaces the top of the tibia, or shinbone. The process is the same as with the femoral component, as we carefully cut away all of the damaged tissues and shape the tibia to fit the joint replacement.

Then we put the prosthetic component, called the tibial tray, in place. The tibial tray is a flat piece of metal with a small stem. The flat part covers the top of the bone, and the stem goes into the center of your shinbone.

We place a plastic liner on top of the tibial tray. This medical-grade plastic replaces cartilage and lets the femoral and tibial components glide smoothly when you walk.

Patellar component

For the last step, we make sure that your patella, or kneecap, fits the rest of the joint replacement components. We resurface the underside of the patella and place a plastic liner on the kneecap.

Securing the three components

Your knee implants may be cemented, cementless, or both, depending on the type of prosthesis and your unique joint requirements. For example, we may use cement for the femoral component but use a cementless tibial component.

Cemented simply means that we use bone cement to secure the component pieces of your knee implants. Or we may recommend press-fit knee implants, which don’t need cement. Instead, these implants are textured to allow your natural bone to grow and adhere to the metal prosthesis.

If you have advanced arthritis or knee pain that interferes with daily activities, call Andrew B. Richardson, MD, or schedule an appointment online to learn more about knee replacements.

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