Revision Joint Replacement

More than 70,000 knee joint replacements are performed every year in England and Wales.  Most will be for arthritis, where the special cartilage covering the bone ends is lost.  If not from a degenerative process, traumatic injury or inflammatory processes such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout can lead to reduced quality of the cartilage and its rapid loss.

A normal knee is lubricated and slippery but with arthritis, can become painful, stiff, swollen and deformed with considerable disability.

If non-operative measures have failed, patients notice persistent pain with stiffness and deformity with a disruption of daily activities.

Replacement involves removing thin slices of bone from the end of the thighbone (femur) and upper shinbone (tibia).  When this involves half of the joint, it is termed a partial joint replacement.  The bare ends are usually replaced with metal surfaces, secured with special bone cements and with high-density plastic material fixed in between the metal surfaces.  These materials may contain nickel, so it is important to mention it if you have an allergy.  The kneecap or patella can also be resurfaced with plastic or combined metal-plastic button.

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