Total knee replacement (TEP)

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Knee replacement or total knee arthroplasty (TEP) is a surgical procedure that involves replacing a damaged or diseased knee joint with an artificial implant. 


Candidates for knee replacement typically include individuals with severe knee joint damage, often due to arthritis or injuries. Pain, limited mobility, and reduced quality of life due to knee disease or injury can be indicators for TEP.


Preparation for treatment involves a thorough assessment of the knee's condition, including X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, and other diagnostic tests. The doctor will also review the patient's medical history to ensure that they are suitable candidates for the surgery.


During the knee replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial implant designed to mimic the natural structure of the knee. The procedure involves the surgical placement of artificial joint components, followed by a postoperative rehabilitation period.


After successful knee replacement, patients often experience a significant reduction in pain, improved mobility, and increased knee functionality. Recovery may require several weeks or months, but most patients notice a considerable improvement in their quality of life after rehabilitation.


After the operation, it is important to follow the doctor's instructions regarding postoperative care and rehabilitation. This includes regular check-ups, physical therapy, and a gradual return to normal activities. It is important to avoid excessive stress on the knee to prevent damage to the new artificial joint.

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What is knee replacement surgery?

Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the damaged or diseased parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial components. It is performed to relieve pain, improve function, and enhance mobility in individuals with severe knee joint conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

Who is a candidate for knee replacement surgery?

Candidates for knee replacement surgery typically have severe knee pain, stiffness, and limited mobility that significantly affect their quality of life. They may have tried non-surgical treatments like medications, physical therapy, or injections with inadequate relief. The decision for surgery is made after a thorough evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon.

How long does a knee replacement last?

The lifespan of a knee replacement can vary depending on factors such as the patient's age, activity level, weight, and the type of implant used. On average, a knee replacement can last 15 to 20 years or longer with proper care and maintenance. Regular follow-up with the surgeon and adhering to activity guidelines can help prolong the lifespan of the implant.

What is the recovery process like after knee replacement surgery?

Recovery after knee replacement surgery involves a period of hospitalization, typically a few days, followed by rehabilitation and physical therapy. Initially, there may be some pain and swelling, which can be managed with medications and ice packs. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in regaining strength, mobility, and function in the knee joint. Full recovery can take several months.

When can I return to normal activities after knee replacement surgery?

The timeline for returning to normal activities after knee replacement surgery varies from person to person. While simple activities like walking and light daily tasks can be resumed soon after surgery, more strenuous activities like running or jumping may need to be avoided. Your surgeon and physical therapist will provide specific guidelines based on your individual case.

Can I kneel after knee replacement surgery?

Kneeling after knee replacement surgery can be uncomfortable initially, but it is generally possible with time and proper rehabilitation. It may take several months for the knee to regain enough strength and flexibility to comfortably support kneeling activities. Your surgeon and physical therapist can guide you on when it is safe to start kneeling again.

What are the risks and complications associated with knee replacement surgery?

Like any surgery, knee replacement carries some risks and potential complications. These can include infection, blood clots, implant loosening or dislocation, nerve or blood vessel injury, persistent pain, and stiffness. It is important to discuss these potential risks with your surgeon before the procedure.

Will I have a scar after knee replacement surgery?

Yes, knee replacement surgery involves incisions, which will result in scars. However, the incisions are typically made strategically to minimize scarring and are placed in areas that can be easily covered by clothing. Over time, scars tend to fade and become less noticeable.

Can both knees be replaced at the same time?

In some cases, both knees can be replaced simultaneously, which is known as bilateral knee replacement. However, the decision to perform bilateral knee replacement depends on several factors, including the patient's overall health, age, and the severity of knee joint damage. Our surgeon will assess your individual situation and discuss the appropriate treatment plan with you.

How long does it take to regain full range of motion after knee replacement surgery?

The time it takes to regain full range of motion after knee replacement surgery can vary from person to person. Generally, most individuals can achieve near-full or full range of motion within 6 to 12 weeks after surgery with consistent rehabilitation and physical therapy. However, it's important to note that some individuals may continue to work on improving their range of motion for several months. Adhering to the prescribed exercise regimen, attending physical therapy sessions, and actively participating in the recovery process can help optimize range of motion outcomes. Our surgeon and physical therapist will guide you through the specific exercises and timeline for achieving optimal knee motion.

Ivana, Patient Coordinator

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Ivana, ZagrebMed patient coordinator