Your medical history, age, activity level, weight and the amount of joint damage in your knee are all factors to be considered when determining what variety of knee replacement surgery might work best for you. Your medical team at Mayo Clinic, led by the orthopedic surgeon, will discuss the options with you and design an individual treatment plan that meets your needs.
Knee replacement surgeries and techniques available at Mayo Clinic include:
- Total knee replacement. Also called total knee arthroplasty, this surgery is for people who have extensive damage in several parts of their knee. The surgeon removes the diseased cartilage, as well as some of the underlying bone, and then fuses an artificial joint to the bone that remains.
- Partial knee replacement. If the cartilage in just one of the knee's sections becomes damaged, Mayo Clinic surgeons can sometimes replace just the damaged section instead of the whole knee joint. Recovery is easier than with total knee replacement, but the results may not last as long, because arthritis could develop in other areas of the knee.
- Minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive techniques allow surgeons to replace a knee using smaller incisions. This usually results in less pain and a quicker recovery. But minimally invasive knee replacement requires special surgical training, and it may not work for everyone. Your orthopedic surgeon will determine whether you're a good candidate for the minimally invasive approach.
- Bilateral knee replacement. Having both knees replaced at once can reduce the overall time spent in rehabilitation following surgery, but it's not recommended for some people, such as those with heart or lung disease.
- Robotic assistance. Some Mayo Clinic surgeons use a computer-guided robotic arm during knee replacement surgeries. This device helps the surgeon remove as little bone as possible and precisely align the artificial joint to the bone.