Knee replacement surgery is popular among older adults with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, gout, and other conditions or injuries that result in permanently-reduced mobility and severe chronic pain.
When treatment options such as steroid injections and physical therapy don't deliver the desired results, partial or total knee replacement surgery known as arthroplasty—which reforms, realigns, or replaces the joint—may help some regain a more active lifestyle.
The time it takes to recover from a knee replacement surgery depends largely on whether the procedure was a partial or total arthroplasty. If your doctor recommended knee replacement surgery, here's what you should know.
Knee Replacement Statistics
- Approximately 700,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Total knee replacement surgery is one of the most frequently performed inpatient procedures for adults age 45 years and older.
- An estimated 5.2 million total knee replacements surgeries were performed between 2000 and 2010.
- From 2000 to 2010, 98.1 percent of total knee replacement patients were age 45 or older.
- The rate of total knee replacement is 50 percent higher in women than men.
- After a knee replacement surgery, more women than men are more likely to be discharged to a long-term care facility instead of their home.
Partial vs. Total Knee Replacement
Knee replacement surgical solutions are no longer one size fits all. Now orthopedic surgeons can replace just part or all of a patient's knee joint, depending on his or her needs.
The knee is comprised of three compartments: the patellofemoral compartment, the medial compartment, and the lateral compartment. During a knee replacement procedure, surgeons resurface the damaged knee and cap the ends of the bones to create a new artificial joint. In a total knee replacement surgery, doctors replace all three compartments of the knee, while a partial knee replacement surgery involves replacing just one of the three compartments.
Partial knee replacement surgeries are less invasive. As a result, patients who undergo this type of knee replacement procedure often experience less discomfort, and recover and return to activity sooner than their total knee replacement counterparts.
Unfortunately, not all patients are good candidates for partial knee replacements. For example, doctors are often reluctant to perform partial knee replacements on patients with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or inflammatory arthritis, as the other two knee compartments would likely need to be replaced at some point in the future.
Knee Replacement Complications and Lawsuits
While most partial and total knee replacement surgeries are a success, some patients may experience complications, such as:
- Blood clots
- Heart attacks
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Pulmonary embolism
Premature failure of the artificial joint is another significant complication associated with partial and total knee replacement surgeries. While most knee replacement implants are expected to function well for 15–to–20 years, some patients report having problems with their implants much sooner.
Knee replacement implant failure is caused by a number of factors, including excessive wear and tear, loosening of the device, infection, stiffness, and bone fractures. Patients who experience premature failure of their knee replacement implants often have to undergo painful and invasive revision and reconstructive surgeries.
DePuy Synthes, makers of the Attune Knee System®, is one of several prosthetic joint manufacturers facing lawsuits from patients who claim to have experienced earlier failure of their replacement joints. Signs of a failing knee replacement implant can include:
- Severe persistent knee pain
- Swollen knee joints
- Redness, inflammation or infection at the surgical site
- Warmth or stiffness in the joint
- Decreased range of motion
- Grinding or clicking sounds when walking
- Joint instability
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If your DePuy Attune Knee System implants have failed prematurely, you may be entitled to entitled to compensation. McGartland Law Firm's award-winning legal team can review your case and help you explore your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a free initial case consultation.