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Knee Revision Surgery: When Is It Appropriate?

Author: Mike Sumko, M.D.

Knee replacement surgery has a long successful history of 47 years. Since 1968, the year of the first total knee replacement (TKR), a global medical community has actively improved upon the materials and techniques used to restore comfort and mobility to patients with degenerative joint disease.

Still… no surgical procedure is guaranteed to be perfect. Whether the culprit is a faulty implant, infection or fracture, TKR does fail from time to time in some patients. The good news is… a second knee surgery is oftentimes an option.

Knee Revision Surgery In Phoenix – Who Needs It?

There are six primary reasons patients may undergo knee revision surgery. Revision surgery may be necessary or elective, depending on the patient’s condition and medical history.

  • Loose/Worn-Down Implants. All implants have a lifespan. Most implants will last at least 20 years. Some can last even longer depending on your level of activity. If an implant wears down or loosens, it can cause knee pain that may be significant enough to warrant a replacement. (This is especially common in patients who undergo TKR at a young age.)
  • Instability. Recurrent swelling and feeling of your knee “giving way” may be a sign of instability, which could be caused by changes in the ligaments surrounding your knee since the time of surgery.
  • Infection. Infection may occur immediately after the surgery or months or years later. If infection occurs, the knee may be debrided (leaving the original surgery’s components partially intact) or a staged surgery may be required. In a staged surgery, the implant is removed, an antibiotic spacer is placed in the knee, and a new prosthesis is replaced. This takes place in two procedures several weeks apart.
  • Fractures. Some patients develop fractures around the knee replacement; typically, this occurs as a result of trauma, such as a fall. The implant may have to be replaced with a larger prosthesis to accommodate the compromised bone near the joint.
  • Stiffness. If your range of motion is less than expected, then your TKR could have caused the development of excessive scar tissue. If your physician is unable to manipulate the scar tissue, then revision surgery may be necessary.

Discuss Knee Revision Surgery With An Orthopaedic Physician

To learn more about knee revision surgery in Phoenix, contact Hedley Orthopaedic Institute by calling 602-553-3113. Candidates for a second knee surgery procedure are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If you are having difficulty with a knee replacement procedure, schedule an evaluation with an orthopaedic practice whose expertise you can trust.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.



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