Knee Surgery Health Center

What Happens During Knee Surgery?

Once you are under general anesthesia (meaning you are temporarily put to sleep) or spinal/epidural anesthesia (numb below the waist), an 8- to 12-inch cut is made in the front of the knee. The damaged part of the joint is removed from the surface of the bones, and the surfaces are then shaped to hold a metal or plastic artificial joint. The artificial joint is attached to the thigh bone, shin and knee cap either with cement or a special material. When fit together, the attached artificial parts form the joint, relying on the surrounding muscles and ligaments for support and function.

What Are Recent Advances in Knee Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery has revolutionized knee surgery as well as many fields of medicine. Its key characteristic is that it uses specialized techniques and instruments to enable the surgeon to perform major surgery without a large incision.

Minimally invasive knee joint replacement requires a much smaller incision, 3 to 5 inches, versus the standard approach and incision. The smaller, less invasive approaches result in less tissue damage by allowing the surgeon to work between the fibers of the quadriceps muscles instead of requiring an incision through the tendon. It may lead to less pain, decreased recovery time and better motion due to less scar tissue formation.

Currently this less invasive procedure is performed by only a small percentage of orthopedic surgeons in North America. Researchers continue looking at the short-term and long-term benefits of minimally invasive versus traditional knee replacement surgery