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Knee Reconstruction and Replacement Surgery
UT Southwestern Medical Center offers total knee reconstruction and total knee replacement surgery to repair the injured joint and restore function to the knee. Our doctors in Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation are experts in the latest surgical techniques and technology, offering the most advanced treatment options available.
Orthopaedic Knee Care Backed by Experience
An injured or diseased knee can make everyday activities painful or unbearable. For patients who wish to remain active, knee reconstruction or replacement surgery might be the best option for regaining quality of life.
At UT Southwestern, our skilled surgeons perform more than 450 knee replacement surgeries every year. This high volume of surgeries gives our surgeons the experience needed to consistently achieve positive outcomes for patients.
Both our Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation teams provide expert-level evaluation and treatment of severe knee injuries and disease, offering the advanced surgical techniques and technology that patients need to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Our orthopaedic surgeons are leaders in the field of orthopaedic medicine and often spearhead new innovations to improve knee surgery. For example, our orthopaedic team was the first in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to use knee replacement techniques specifically designed for women.
UT Southwestern is also a major referral center for patients requiring rehabilitative care for knee injuries. Our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation team’s board-certified researchers and therapists are among the most respected in the nation. We provide the medical and scientific leadership that enables us to make an important difference in the lives of our patients.
We offer knee reconstruction and replacement surgery for knee joints that are injured or deteriorating due to a number of factors, such as:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL) tears or injuries
- Arthritis, including rheumatoid, post-traumatic, psoriatic, and osteoarthritis
- Avascular bone necrosis (damages blood supply to joint)
- Torn cartilage
Symptoms of a knee injury or disorder that might require total knee replacement surgery include:
- Cracking sound or sensation
- Discomfort and pain when walking
- Instability, stiffness, and loss of range of motion
- Unbearable pain in the knee joint
After conducting a physical exam and patient history to determine the cause and severity of a knee injury, our doctors will often order imaging tests to see if the patient is a good candidate for knee reconstruction or replacement surgery. These include:
X-rays help doctors view the joint and see if there is any deterioration in the bone. CT and MRI scans are used when we need to get a comprehensive look at soft-tissue injuries to ligaments, cartilage, and tendons.
Our state-of- the-art diagnostic tests allow us to understand the extent of the injury and its location to determine if replacement surgery is the best course of action.
UT Southwestern offers world-class technology and techniques in the surgical replacement and reconstruction of the knee joints – including knee reconstruction surgery, total joint replacement, partial joint replacement, and revision surgery.
With many severe ACL tears, the ligaments can’t be sutured back together, so ligament reconstruction surgery is the best treatment option. In a knee ligament reconstruction, the surgeon will replace the torn ligament with a tissue graft from a healthy tendon. The graft acts like scaffolding for a new ligament to grow on.
Total Knee Replacement
In total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, the surgeon resurfaces the end of the thigh bone (femur) and the top of the lower leg bone with metal where the two bones come together to form the knee joint. The surgeon leaves the original ligaments, tendons, skin, muscle, and most of the bone and simply resurfaces the damaged cartilage in the knee with a metal liner.
The space between those two metal surfaces is filled with a plastic spacer. When a patient walks after surgery, metal rubs against plastic instead of bone against bone, improving a patient's gait and relieving pain.
At UT Southwestern, we offer a minimally invasive, or arthroscopic, approach to total knee replacement, which uses smaller incisions and offers faster recovery times.
Partial Knee Replacement Surgery
We offer partial knee replacement to patients with knee arthritis that is confined to one section of the knee. Partial knee replacement resurfaces the worn-out part of the joint with a metal and plastic liner.
Revision Knee Replacement Surgery
For patients who have had negative outcomes from knee joint replacement surgery at other institutions, we offer knee revision surgery.
Our surgeons work closely with patients to determine which method and materials will best suit their individual needs.
Following knee reconstruction and replacement, we offer physical and occupational rehabilitation to enable patients to return to everyday activities quickly and safely.
Our rehabilitation programs are designed to meet each patient’s needs and help ease the transition from the hospital to home. If needed, a social worker can help make arrangements for home assistance services, including in-home therapy and nursing services, as well as attendants to help with daily living needs.
Family members also play a vital role in a patient’s rehabilitation. Our staff provides families with information about support groups and other resources that are an integral part of our rehabilitation program for all joint replacement patients.
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