Despite the remarkable success rates of knee replacement procedures—with roughly 90 percent of patients reporting that their knee prostheses are still functioning well 15 years after their surgery—they are not foolproof. The American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) reports that there is up to one percent chance each year that a patient’s knee implant can fail.
A knee revision surgery is a procedure used to address a failed knee replacement. It involves either replacing only the damaged portion of the original prosthesis or removing the whole of it and replacing it with a new one.
If you have had a knee replacement, here’s what you should know about when a knee revision surgery is likely necessary.
Aseptic Implant Loosening
The term “aseptic” means the loosening of the knee implant isn’t caused by infection. Excess body weight, high-impact activities, and wear of the plastic spacer between the two metal components of the knee prosthesis can contribute to its loosening. Rarely, implant loosening can be caused by the deterioration of the bone supporting the implant, a condition referred to as osteolysis.
Symptoms of aseptic implant loosening include mild to severe knee pain, mobility problems, warmth and swelling, and instability.
Your orthopedic surgeon will likely remove the entire implant and replace it with a new prosthesis and use stabilizing rods to secure it.
Since a knee implant is designed to work with your existing ligaments, any damage to such structures in your knee can render the implant unable to work properly and cause recurrent swelling and knee instability.
If you’re experiencing knee instability that is unresponsive to nonsurgical interventions like bracing and physical therapy, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a knee revision surgery.
A periprosthetic fracture is a break that occurs around the components of a knee prosthesis, usually due to a fall or trauma.
Symptoms of a periprosthetic fracture include pain, deformity, inability to bear weight on your knee, swelling, and bruising.
To determine the extent of the revision necessary for your case, your orthopedic surgeon will take several factors into consideration, such as the type and location of the fracture, whether there is implant loosening, and the quality of the remaining bone.
If you have osteoporosis and the integrity of the remaining bone is compromised, your surgeon will likely consider completely replacing the damaged portion of the bone with a larger prosthetic component.
Prosthetic Joint Infection
As with any other type of surgical procedure, infection is one of the potential complications of knee replacement surgeries, albeit rare. Signs of infections, such as pain, swelling, and drainage from the incision, usually warrant a revision knee replacement.
Your orthopedic surgeon will talk to you about which option is most suitable for your case: either debridement, antibiotics, and implant retention (DAIR) or a one- or two-stage revision. If you developed the infection shortly after your surgery, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend DAIR. In this procedure, your surgeon will remove the infected tissue and clean out the implant, leaving the metal implants in place, but replace the plastic liner or spacer. Your surgeon will then put you on a lengthy course of IV antibiotic treatment (up to six weeks).
Knee Revision Surgeons in Boynton Beach, FL
If you are experiencing problems with your knee implants, schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified orthopedic surgeons here at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches. We will thoroughly evaluate your case to determine whether it warrants knee revision surgery. If indeed, you require knee revision surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will take all necessary measures to minimize your risk of complications.
Our orthopedic surgeons have already performed countless successful joint replacement and revision surgeries over the course of their careers, so you can rest assured that you can trust them with your care!
To set an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons, call us at (561) 733-5888, or use our online appointment request form.