What is Complex Total Knee Replacement?
Total knee replacement, also called total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical treatment for painful arthritis of the knee in which the worn-out or damaged surfaces of the knee joint are removed and replaced with an artificial prosthesis.
Complex total knee replacement is employed in patients whose arthritis is especially severe, or who have already undergone a previous surgery in the same leg, such as fracture repair. The surgery takes about 2 to 3 hours to perform. Dr. Ehmke has expertise in evaluating and performing complex total knee replacements.
Some conditions involving the knee joint that warrant a complex total knee replacement include the following:
- Weak knee ligaments
- Major knee deformity
- Considerable bone loss due to fracture or arthritis
- Knee fracture that has healed in a deformed or malunited position
- Significant knee stiffness due to joint degeneration
- Knee instability due to tearing or stretching of ligaments
- Severe knee injury or knee fracture
- Previous infection of the joint
In these circumstances, a complex total knee replacement affords a variety of features and benefits, such as utilizing more complex prosthetic parts with longer stems to ensure the component is securely fitted in the cavity. Some components may interlock like a hinge at the front of the knee to provide more stability. In addition, larger plastic liners, and bone grafting are often required to ensure correct alignment and length of the lower leg, replace absent bone stock, and to sufficiently restore the collateral ligaments and other soft tissue structures.
Complex knee replacement is more difficult and sometimes carries higher risk then a standard knee replacement. Dr. Ehmke will review this with you in great detail during your evaluation.