Total Knee Replacement

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Rehabilitation Guidelines

Total Knee Replacement Rehabilitation (pdf)


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Total Knee Replacement Referral Guidelines

At UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, our orthopedic surgeons provide a full range of services for patients with knee problems, including knee replacement surgery.

About the Knee

The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities such as jogging and aerobics. Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that acts as a "cushion" to absorb shock and protect the knee. Excess stress on the joint can cause cartilage in the joint to gradually wear away.
For UW Health patients with chronic, debilitating pain caused by knee arthritis, total knee replacement surgery is designed to provide relief, restore function and generally improve the patient's quality of life.

Why do people need knee replacement surgery?

Joints such as the knee can become damaged by diseases, injuries, and "wear and tear" usage eventually leading to arthritis. As the cartilage of the knee joint wears away, the normal smooth surfaces of the joint are replaced with roughened bone causing arthritis. The main symptom of arthritis is pain; however, many patients also complain of decreased knee motion, "giving way," and "bowlegs" or "knock knees."

About Knee Replacement Surgery

In knee replacement surgery, the arthritic portion of the knee is removed and covered with a combination of plastic and metal parts that form the new surfaces of the knee joint. The new surfaces created in total knee replacement surgery slide together smoothly. The patient's pain is relieved because the roughened, arthritic bone no longer rubs together.
Our UW Health orthopedic surgeons will evaluate your need for total knee replacement surgery and help you determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for joint replacement. Total knee replacement surgery is often the appropriate therapy if you have constant knee pain and struggle with knee function - for example, if you have trouble with normal tasks such as walking, climbing stairs or bathing.
Each total knee replacement surgery is different, depending on how badly the joint is damaged. The success of your surgery depends largely on how well you follow your doctor's advice when you get home. As you move your new joint, flexibility and movement will improve and pain will lessen.

Animation: Total Knee Replacement