Types of Knee Surgeries

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 / Published in Articles

Consisting of 4 primary bones (femur, tibia, fibula and patella) and a myriad of smaller ligaments and muscles, the knee is complex joint making it susceptible to anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus tears and damaged medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments. These injuries are often sports related and are the most common reasons for visiting an orthopaedic surgeon. Although most knee injuries can be repaired through non-invasive surgical methods, some injuries may require surgical procedures such as a knee arthroscopy, ACL reconstruction, a unicompartmental knee replacement and a total knee replacement.

Knee arthroscopy: a knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery which is performed to repair or remove a torn meniscus, repair an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), realign the patella (kneecap), remove small pieces of broken cartilage in the knee joint, repair a swollen synovium, remove swelling caused by arthritis and repair small fractures in the femur, tibia, fibula or patella.

ACL reconstruction: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery is a minimally invasive surgical process which replaces the damaged anterior cruciate ligament with an autograft (tissue from the patient’s body) or allograft (tissue from a donor) to improve the overall stability and prevent any cartilage damage or early arthritis which often occurs following an anterior cruciate ligament injury or untreated knee damage.

Unicompartmental knee replacement: a unicompartmental knee replacement (or partial knee replacement) is a minimally invasive surgical process during which damaged tissue or bone is removed and the medial collateral ligament (inner) or fibular collateral ligament (outer) is replaced with a metal and plastic prosthetic. A partial knee replacement is often performed on patients experiencing acute pain or immobility as a result of confined osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis).

Total knee replacement: a total knee replacement is recommended for patients experiencing chronic knee pain which inhibits mobility as a result of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. During the total knee replacement surgery, the damaged surfaces of the knee joints are removed and the arthritic cartilage and underlying bone affected by the degenerative knee disease are replaced with an artificial joint implant constructed of metal components and polyethylene.

Although the knee appears to be a simple and insignificant joint, it is actually one of the most important joints in the human body, as it plays an essential role in the movement and support of the body. Flexibility required for activities such as walking, running, crouching, jumping and turning rely on the knee joints for stability, without which they would not be possible. Knee surgery is mandatory following a knee injury as it prevents early onset of degenerative knee diseases (i.e. osteoarthritis) and restores the ability to participate in sporting activities which were previously affected as a result acute pain and lack of mobility.

The Sports Science Orthopaedic Clinic (SSOC) is a leading orthopaedic clinic in Cape Town dedicated to providing complete orthopaedic care to the general public and sports persons. Noteworthy procedures include: Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, Total Hip Replacement & Hip Surgery, Hip-Arthroscopy and the acclaimed Uni-Compartment & Total Knee Replacement surgery. Their unicompartmental and total knee replacement surgery has gained monumental success, with a number of sports persons benefiting from these specialized surgical procedures.

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