Summit Orthopedics

Revision Knee Replacement

You may be a candidate for revision knee replacement surgery if you have had a knee replacement and have experienced problems with it. Initial knee replacement surgery can provide significant pain relief from arthritis and allow a patient to remain active for many years after the procedure. Fortunately, for many of these patients, they are able to live the rest of their lives without the need for additional surgery in the knee. For other patients, a second procedure is needed to either correct problems caused by the initial procedure or to replace an implant that has worn over time. This is known as a revision knee replacement.

Revision knee replacement surgery is more complex than the initial knee replacement procedure, so it is important to choose a surgeon who has expertise in revision procedures to ensure the best possible results.

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Amer Mirza, is highly qualified to handle these complex cases for our patients at Summit Orthopaedics. His expertise, combined with our compassionate staff, ensure you have the best experience possible if you need revision knee replacement surgery.

When is Revision Knee Replacement Surgery Recommended?

Knee replacement surgery is a very successful procedure for the vast majority of patients. However, knee implants can fail, either due to infection or wear on the implant over time. Implant failure can cause pain, swelling, or stiffness in the knee, and revision knee replacement surgery may be recommended to correct those problems.

There are several reasons a knee implant may fail, including:

  • Wear on the implant and/or loosening over time
  • Infection in the knee
  • Instability due to ligament injuries
  • Stiffness due to excessive scar tissue around the joint
  • A fracture in the area surrounding the knee implants

Patients who had their original knee replacement at a younger-than-average age have a higher chance of needing revision knee replacement surgery in the future due to wear on the implant. These patients will often “outlive” their implant, as the components can wear and loosen from the bone over time.

What is involved in a revision knee replacement procedure?

A revision knee replacement procedure is more complex than the original knee replacement procedure and often takes longer to complete due to the care the surgeon must take to preserve as much healthy bone and tissue as possible. Because these cases are more complex, extensive planning, specialized implants, and tools are required to achieve a good result.

Although the incision is made in the same location as the original knee replacement incision, it may need to be larger to allow for the removal of the old implants. The original implant or implants need to be removed carefully to preserve as much healthy bone as possible

In some instances, only one implant or component of the prosthesis has to be revised. At other times, all three components–femoral, tibial, and patellar–need to be removed or replaced. Once the old implant or implants have been removed, your surgeon will prepare the bone for the new implant(s). Revision knee implants are often larger than the original implants to make up for structural changes in the knee, like bone loss. If there is significant bone loss around the knee, Dr. Mirza may use metal augments to take the place of lost bone, so that the knee is better aligned and more stable.

If revision knee replacement surgery is needed as the result of an infection, the original metal implants may be left in place if the bacteria can be washed out. In these cases, only the plastic spacer between the metal implants needs to be replaced. However, in more severe cases of infection, revision surgery is done in a staged approach. First, the original implants are completely removed and replaced with a cement spacer, and the patient is treated with antibiotics until the infection clears. Then, the surgeon performs a second procedure to insert new knee prosthetics.

What is recovery like for revision knee replacement surgery?

When you undergo revision knee replacement surgery, the recovery process is similar to what you experienced with the original knee replacement surgery , but it is typically a longer process.

Most patients will need to stay in the hospital for a few days after revision knee replacement surgery. Upon returning home, you will likely need assistance for several days or weeks until you are able to get around on your own.

Medications will be given to help with pain, and patients are referred to see a physical therapist after surgery to help restore strength and range of motion in the knee.

The majority of patients are able to resume all normal activities within 6-8 weeks of surgery, but this can vary for each patient.

Revision Knee Replacement Surgery in Portland, Oregon

If you have had a knee replacement and have experienced problems with it, you may be a candidate for revision knee replacement surgery. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mirza, please call our office at (503) 850-9940 to schedule an appointment. 

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