What is Knee Arthroplasty?

Arthroplasty of the knee is a surgery where the knee joint is replaced with metal and plastic implants. The distal end of the femur (thigh) and the proximal end of the tibial bone (tibia) are removed and replaced with a metal implant at the bottom of the femur and a plastic/metal implant at the top of the tibia. The implanted parts are usually called prostheses or implants.

Additionally, the back of the patella can also be replaced. The procedure is performed to relieve the pain usually caused by wear and tear on the knee joint. Surgery can also increase knee mobility.


There are two types of knee arthroplasty:

Partial knee arthroplasty

Partial knee arthroplasty involves replacing only the worn parts of the knee.

Total knee arthroplasty

The knee joint is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body. The knee consists of the distal end of the femur (thigh) which rotates over the proximal end of the tibial bone (tibia) and the patella, which slides into a notch at the distal end of the femur.

Stability is provided by large ligaments attached to the femur and tibia. The knee is supported by the strong muscles of the thigh.

Total knee arthroplasty involves replacement of the injured or damaged part of the knee with implants. Your new knee joint will consist of metal implant at the bottom of the femur and a plastic/metal implant at the top of the tibia and, if necessary, a plastic implant on the patella.


The Surgery

It usually lasts from 1 to 2 hours and generally the patient is hospitalized for 3 to 10 days. The procedure is performed through an incision at the front of the knee, from 10 to 23 cm in length. The sutures or clips may be absorbable, but non-absorbable types should usually be removed about 2 weeks after surgery.




The time it takes for the patient to return home depends on many factors, including social conditions. People who live in single-storey houses and apartments return home faster than people living in multi-storey houses. People who have a personal assistant or family member that can take care of them to recover faster return home faster than those who live alone.


Back to work

Usually, this phase takes 2-3 months, but many employees, especially those who perform office work, can return to their jobs faster. Each case is unique, so your doctor will tell you when you are ready to return to work.