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Revision Knee Replacement

The quality of knee replacements may be reduced due to wear and tear over time. In some cases, your doctor may consider revision knee replacement, which means all or part of the old implant is replaced. Revision knee replacement can vary depending on your condition. You may only need a small component replaced. Others may need extensive restoration of their knee.

Should I have a revision knee replacement?

If your knee replacement is no longer giving you the quality of life you once enjoyed, talk with your doctor. There are several reasons that you may consider a revisional surgery, including:

  • Continued or recurring pain
  • Wear or loosening of the implants
  • Infection in the knee
  • Bone loss
  • Loss of stability or stiffness

What is involved in revision knee replacement?

Your surgical experience for revision knee replacement may be somewhat similar to your first knee replacement. Depending on the size of your knee, bone loss, and wear of your old implant, your surgeon will fit new components to you. Like total knee replacement, surgery can take about two hours, and you’ll have an approximately 7-centimeter incision across your knee.

Your surgeon will cut part of the end of the thigh bone and shin bone to refit your new artificial knee. Then, he or she will begin to place the new implant pieces. Once your surgeon has fitted your new components, they’ll be secured, and your incision will be closed.

What are the risks of revision surgery?

Most complications from revision surgery are rare, but there are risks involved with any surgery. These may include:

  • Blood clots
  • Broken bones
  • Infections
  • Numbness around your wound
  • Stiffness
  • Damage to the ligaments, nerves, or blood vessels
  • Visible issues with alignment or leg inequality
  • Dislocation of the knee joint or kneecap

What happens after revision knee replacement?

The recovery for revision knee replacement is also similar to total knee replacement. In general, you can expect to be in the hospital for three to five days. Our care team will work with you to control your pain, including the use of a patient-controlled analgesia pump. We’ll also take precautions to prevent lung congestion, infections, and blood clots.

Within one to two days, you’ll begin getting out of bed and walking with the help of a physical therapist. We will provide you with exercises to start in the hospital and continue at home. When you’re first discharged, you may need the help of a walker or cane.

At six weeks, you’ll have a follow-up with your doctor. You should be able to start driving again and bend your knee part of the way. Walking should also be easier by this time. You may not return to sports or other physical activities for three months, and you’ll need continued follow-up with your doctor each year.