Knee replacement: an animation 

This animation shows how knee replacement surgery is done and explains why it may be needed.

Find out what happens during knee replacement surgery

Transcript of Knee replacement: an animation

The knee is one of the most complex joints in the body.

Strong and stable, it supports much of our weight.

However, because of this, the knee is especially prone to injury.

The knee joint is made up of three bones.

The thighbone, or femur;

the shin, or tibia

and the kneecap, or patella.

They are connected by muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The knee straightens and bends in one direction

and is known as a hinge joint.

To allow the knee to move smoothly,

the ends of the bones are covered in a protective tissue

called articular cartilage.

If the articular cartilage is diseased, as in osteoarthritis,

damaged by injury or becoming worn out,

the bones rub against each other.

This can cause pain and stiffness in your knee.

If medication and other non-surgical treatments do not ease the symptoms,

your doctor may recommend you have knee replacement.

Replacing the damaged knee joint with an artificial one

can help reduce pain and make it easier to move.

If the damage to your joint is severe,

your surgeon may recommend a total knee replacement.

In total knee replacement,

your surgeon will make a cut down the front of the knee

to expose your kneecap.

This is then moved to the side to reach the damaged joint's surfaces,

and the knee is flexed.

The damaged ends of the femur...

..and tibia

are carefully cut away.

The end of your tibia is replaced by a flat metal plate

and a plastic spacer, which reduces friction when your joint moves.

The end of your femur is replaced by a curved piece of metal.

Together they create an artificial joint.

Your artificial joint may last 10-15 years, sometimes longer,

after which another replacement may be needed.

In most people, total knee replacement and physiotherapy

will significantly improve your quality of life.

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