Surgery Overview

What Is Knee Replacement Surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is a surgical procedure in which a damaged or diseased knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic components.
The procedure is typically performed in patients who have severe arthritis or an injury in the knee joint that causes pain and stiffness, and limits their ability to perform daily activities. The goal of the surgery is to reduce pain and improve mobility in the knee joint.


Meet Our Knee Replacement Specialists

Take the first step towards knee pain relief. Get to know our physicians.

Anthony Festa, M.D.

Orthopedic Surgeon

William A. Matarese, M.D.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Thomas A. Novack, M.D.

Orthopedic Surgeon

Casey M. Pierce, M.D.

Orthopedic Surgeon
OrthoEast Locations

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About Knee Replacement Surgery


Who Might Need Knee Replacement Surgery?

Knee replacement surgery may be recommended for individuals who have severe knee pain and disability caused by various conditions such as:

  • Osteoarthritis,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-traumatic arthritis
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Knee deformities
  • Knee infections
  • Knee tumors

Every year in the United States, more than 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are carried out, making it one of the most frequently performed joint replacement surgeries.

It is estimated that by the year 2030, the number of total knee replacement surgeries will increase by 673%, resulting in a total of 3.5 million procedures being performed annually.

So how do you know if knee replacement surgery is right for you? The decision to undergo knee replacement surgery is made after careful evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon who will consider your medical history, conduct physical exam, review imaging studies, and evaluate your overall health.

It’s worth nothing that some conditions can be resolved with a knee arthroscopy surgery, instead of knee replacement.

Our knee replacement specialists at OrthoEast include Dr. Casey Pierce, Dr. Thomas A. Novack, Dr. Anthony Festa and Dr. William Matarase.

We understand that the thought of knee replacement surgery can be stressful, which is why our team focuses on providing a personalized approach to your care. Our fellowship-trained, board-certified physicians provide full-spectrum treatment and seek to build meaningful relationships with our patients to help you navigate your procedure with greater comfort and confidence.

Conditions That Require Knee Replacement Surgery

While not all knee conditions require surgical intervention, some conditions may require knee replacement surgery to alleviate pain and improve mobility. 

Some of the knee conditions include: 

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the knee joint.

Over time, the cartilage that cushions the joint can wear away, causing bones to rub against each other, leading to pain and discomfort.

Knee replacement surgery can be an effective treatment option for individuals with severe osteoarthritis who have not responded to conservative treatments such as medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and damage to the knee joint.

The inflammation can lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint, making it difficult to perform daily activities.

Knee replacement surgery may be recommended for individuals with severe rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to other treatments.

Post-traumatic arthritis can occur after a knee injury, such as a fracture or dislocation.

Over time, the injury can lead to the development of arthritis in the joint, causing pain and stiffness.

Knee replacement surgery may be recommended for individuals with post-traumatic arthritis who have not responded to other treatments.

Avascular necrosis is a condition in which the bone in the knee joint dies due to a lack of blood supply.

This can lead to pain and stiffness in the joint, making it difficult to move.

Knee replacement surgery may be recommended for individuals with avascular necrosis who didn’t find a solution with other treatments.

Knee deformities, such as bowels or knock knees, can cause uneven wear and tear on the joint, leading to pain and discomfort.

Knee replacement surgery may be recommended for individuals with severe knee deformities who have not responded to other treatments.

Knee infections can occur when bacteria or other pathogens enter the joint.

Infections can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint, and can lead to joint damage if not treated promptly.

Knee replacement surgery may be recommended for individuals with severe knee infections.

How Is Knee Replacement Surgery Performed?

Knee replacement surgeries are typically done under general or spinal anesthesia. To begin knee replacement surgery at OrthoEast, we create an incision in the knee and move the kneecap to the side. Any bone spurs that may be present, which can occur in osteoarthritis, are then removed.

Next, we remove the two menisci between the femur and tibia, as well as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and, in certain cases, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). However, in some knee replacement procedures we retain the PCL.

During the primary phase of the operation, we remove cartilage and some bone from the upper tibia and lower femur. The femoral condyles — two knobby protuberances — are removed from the femur. The femur and tibia are then capped with metal implants, which create new joint surfaces.

The femoral component is designed to replicate the original femoral condyles’ shape. If the kneecap has also deteriorated, the underside’s surface may be removed and replaced with a polyethylene implant.

Afterward, we repair various tissue layers with dissolvable sutures and close the skin incision using sutures or surgical staples.

The knee is then wrapped with a bandage, and we move the patient to the recovery area.

What Are Knee Replacement Implants Made Of?

The selection of knee replacement prosthesis design and materials is personalized for every patient. Typically, the main implant components are crafted from metal, such as titanium or chrome-cobalt alloys.

These implants can be fixed in place using either a cement bonding agent or osseointegration — a process in which a porous metal stem extends into the tibia and encourages natural bone growth.

A polyethylene spacer is inserted between the femoral and tibial implant surfaces. The femoral components are often made of cobalt-chromium metal alloys or oxidized zirconium metal-ceramic alloys, while the patellar component is constructed from polyethylene.

The tibial insert component and tibial tray component are also typically composed of polyethylene, while various materials may be used for the tibial tray component, such as:

  • Cobalt chromium (metal alloy)
  • Titanium (metal alloy)
  • Polyethylene (plastic)

Types of Knee Replacement Surgeries at OrthoEast

In some cases, non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes may be effective in managing knee pain and improving joint function.

However, more serious conditions will require a knee replacement surgery, and the type of procedures we offer at OrthoEast are:

In a total knee replacement, the damaged cartilage and a small amount of the underlying bone are removed and replaced with metal or plastic implants, and the entire kneecap is resurfaced.

After the damaged tissue is removed, your surgeon at OrthoEast will prepare the surface of the bones to receive the artificial joint components.

The femoral component is attached to the end of the thigh bone, the tibial component is attached to the top of the shin bone, and the patellar component is attached to the back of the kneecap.

The procedure is completed by inserting a spacer between the implants to make them glide easily together, replicating the original bone and cartilage that was removed.

The process of partial knee replacement involves removing and replacing only the damaged area of the knee joint with an artificial component.

We start the surgery by making a small incision over the affected part of your knee. Then we will use specialized instruments to remove the damaged cartilage and bone from the affected compartment of the knee joint.

After the damaged tissue is removed, the surgeon will replace it with an implant made of metal and plastic.

This type of surgery is typically recommended for individuals with damage to only one part of the knee joint.

Bilateral knee replacement surgery is a type of surgery where both knees are replaced during a single operation.

This procedure is typically recommended for patients who have severe arthritis or damage in both knees.

Bilateral knee replacement surgery can offer benefits such as reduced recovery time and improved symmetry. However, it is a more complex procedure than unilateral knee replacement surgery and may carry a slightly higher risk of complications — which our team at OrthoEast will discuss with you in detail.

Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery is a newer approach to knee replacement where we use specialized surgical techniques and instruments to minimize the size of incisions and the amount of trauma to the surrounding tissues during the procedure.

This can result in less pain, less scarring, and a faster recovery time compared to traditional knee replacement surgery.

During minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, we make one or several small incisions around the knee joint and use specialized instruments to access and remove the damaged tissue. The new artificial joint is then implanted through the same small incisions.

Revision knee replacement surgery is performed to replace a previously implanted knee joint that has worn out, become loose, or has developed an infection. The goal of the surgery is to restore function and alleviate pain in the knee.

Revision knee replacement surgery is typically more complex than primary knee replacement surgery because the surgeon must remove the old artificial joint, which may be firmly attached to the surrounding bone, and then replace it with a new one.

The surgery may also require the use of specialized implants and bone grafts to address bone loss or other complications.

A recent study on individuals who underwent knee replacement surgery found that only about 3.9% needed to undergo a revision surgery within 10 years of the initial procedure.

How To Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery

To prepare for the surgery, your doctor may recommend several steps, such as losing weight, exercising to strengthen the knee muscles, and quitting smoking.

To prepare for your surgery:

  • Undergo an evaluation at OrthoEast: You will need to undergo a complete medical evaluation to assess your overall health and identify any pre-existing medical conditions that may affect your surgery or recovery.
  • Stop smoking: Smoking can impair blood flow and oxygen supply to tissues, which can delay healing and increase the risk of infection.
  • Make yourself comfortable: Wearing comfortable clothing on the day of the surgery could help you feel relaxed before the procedure.
  • Avoid food or beverages: For a certain period of time before the surgery, you may need to avoid food and beverages to prepare your body for the procedure.
  • Avoid medications: You may need to temporarily stop taking some medications before the surgery, as it could delay recovery.
  • Arrange a drive home: Be sure to schedule a ride post procedure, as you will not be able to drive yourself due to the effects of anesthesia.

How Long Does Knee Replacement Surgery Take?

Generally, knee replacement surgery takes between one and three hours to complete.

The length of the surgery can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the type of surgery, and the surgeon’s experience.

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

After knee replacement surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room to be monitored. You may feel some pain and discomfort, which can be managed with pain medication.

You will be encouraged to start moving and walking as soon as possible to prevent blood clots and other complications. You will need to use crutches or a walker for several weeks after surgery.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to knee replacement surgery for every patient and dependent on your condition our team will make sure to provide you with realistic expectations after the surgery.

Knee Replacement Recovery Time

It can take several weeks to several months to fully recover from hip replacement surgery.It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s journey to recovery is different. The length of your recovery will depend on several factors, such as your age, overall health, fitness level, and the surgical approach we take to ensure the best outcome.

Schedule A Consultation For Knee Replacement Surgery At OrthoEast

We know that the thought of a surgical procedure can be scary, and reading through all this information at once can be overwhelming. That’s why our compassionate team at OrthoEast offers personalized care every step of the way, answering your questions and putting your mind at ease. 

Find us at one of our locations in New Jersey or New York to schedule a consultation: 

  • Wayne, NJ
  • Morristown, NJ
  • Clifton, NJ
  • Linden, NJ
  • Wall Township, NJ
  • New York, NY