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What to Ask About Knee Osteoarthritis

What is a total knee replacement?

A total knee replacement is the surgical removal of the entire knee joint and replacement with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. Your knee joint is formed where your thigh bone (femur) and your shin bone (tibia) meet. It is the largest joint in your body and also contains ligaments, tendons, cartilage, the kneecap (patella), and lubricating fluid. Total knee replacement can help restore pain-free range of motion and full function in a diseased knee joint.

A total knee replacement is a common but major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a total knee replacement. 

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 14, 2013

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Medical References

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  4. Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Joint_Replacement/default.asp#7.
  5. Joint Surgery. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/jointsurgery.pdf.
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  7. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf
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  9. Surgical Approaches for Total Knee Replacement. RTH Orthopedics New England. http://www.keggiorthosurgery.com/Surgical_Approaches_For_Total_Knee.php.
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