The Knee Surgeon

A revision total knee replacement

A revision total knee replacement, also known as a revision TKR, is a surgical procedure performed to replace a previously implanted artificial knee joint with a new one. This procedure is typically considered when a primary total knee replacement (TKR) has failed, often due to wear and tear, infection, component loosening, implant instability, or other complications.

Here’s an overview of the revision total knee replacement process.

  1. Before surgery, the patient undergoes a thorough evaluation, which may include physical examinations, imaging tests (X-rays, CT scans, MRI), and medical history review. The surgeon assesses the condition of the knee joint, the reason for failure of the original implant, and plans the revision surgery accordingly.
  2. During the procedure, the old implant components (femoral, tibial, and patellar components) are carefully removed. This can sometimes be more challenging than in the primary procedure due to the presence of scar tissue and bone loss.
  3. The remaining bone is prepared to receive the new implant components. Bone grafts may be used to address bone loss and provide stability for the new components or the components themselves compensate for any bone loss or ligament insufficiency.
  4. The new implant components are then placed and secured to the bone. These components include the femoral component (attached to the thigh bone), tibial component (attached to the shin bone), and sometimes a patellar component (attached to the kneecap).
  5. Following surgery, the patient will need to undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Physical therapy helps regain strength, mobility, and function of the knee joint. Recovery time varies, but patients can generally expect several weeks to months of rehabilitation before returning to regular activities.

It’s important to note that revision total knee replacement is often more complex than the primary procedure due to factors like scar tissue, bone loss, and altered anatomy. Success rates can vary depending on the cause of the revision, the surgeon’s skill, and the patient’s overall health. Patients considering revision surgery should have a thorough discussion with their orthopedic surgeon to understand the potential risks, benefits, and expected outcomes.