Elizabeth’s Knee Surgery Revision
A podcast interview for The Bee’s Knees Podcast. In this episode Mary Elliott covers Elizabeth’s knee surgery revision and recovery.
About this Procedure
Knee revision surgery, which is also known as revision total knee arthroplasty, is a procedure in which the surgeon removes a previously implanted artificial knee joint, or prosthesis, and replaces it with a new prosthesis. Knee revision surgery may also involve the use of bone grafts. The bone graft may be an autograft, which means that the bone is taken from another site in the patient’s own body; or an allograft, which means that the bone tissue comes from another donor.
Knee revision surgery has three major purposes: relieving pain in the affected hip; restoring the patient’s mobility; and removing a loose or damaged prosthesis before irreversible harm is done to the joint. Knee prostheses can come loose for one of two reasons. One is mechanical and is related to the fact that the knee joint bears a great deal of weight when a person is walking or running. It is unusual for the metal part of a knee prosthesis to simply break. This part, however, is inserted into the upper part of the tibia, the larger of the two bones in the lower leg, after the surgeon has removed the upper surface of the tibia. The bone tissue that receives the metal implant is softer than the bone that was removed, which means that the metal implant may sink into the softer bone and gradually loosen.
The second reason for loosening of a knee prosthesis is related to the development of inflammation in the knee joint. The plastic part of a knee prosthesis is made of a material called polyethylene, which can form small particles of debris as a result of wear on the prosthesis over time. If the patient has an uneven gait, or pattern of walking, the debris particles tend to form at a faster rate because one side of the prosthesis will tend to pull away from the bone and the other side will be pushed further into the bone. These tiny fragments of plastic are absorbed by tissue cells around the knee joint, which become inflamed. The inflammatory response begins to dissolve the bone around the prosthesis in a process known as osteolysis. As the osteolysis continues, bone loss accelerates and the prosthesis eventually comes loose.
A knee prosthesis that has become infected or completely dislocated must be removed and replaced to prevent permanent damage to the patient’s knee.
The X10 Meta-Blog
We call it a “Meta-Blog” because we step back and give you a broad perspective on all aspects of knee health, surgery and recovery such as Long Term Planning for a Healthy Retirement.
In this one-of-a-kind blog we gather together great thinkers, doers, writers related to Knee Surgery, Recovery, Preparation, Care, Success and Failure. Meet physical therapists, coaches, surgeons, patients, and as many smart people as we can gather to create useful articles for you. Whether you have a surgery upcoming, in the rear-view mirror, or just want to take care of your knees to avoid surgery, you should find some value here. For more on MUA click here.
Two resources for you below. Both are email series that we created to help those who need some additional thinking for pre-surgery and post-surgery.