Comprehensive Guide to Knee Cap Replacement: Understanding Orthopaedic Surgery Essentials

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  • Comprehensive Guide to Knee Cap Replacement: Understanding Orthopaedic Surgery Essentials

Knee cap replacement, also known as patellofemoral replacement, is a specialized orthopaedic surgery aimed at relieving knee pain and restoring function. This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricate details of knee cap replacement orthapedic surgery, from its purpose and candidacy to the procedure itself and knee cap replacement recovery. Understanding the basics of this procedure can provide valuable insights for those seeking relief from knee pain and exploring surgical solutions for improved quality of life.

Introduction to Knee Cap Replacement Surgery

A knee replacement operation involves replacing parts of a knee joint that are damaged or worn out. This can help to reduce pain and improve its functioning. During the procedure, artificial components made of metal and plastic are used to replace damaged bone and cartilage. To determine if a knee replacement is suitable, a doctor will assess the knee’s range of motion, stability, and strength. X-rays will be used to determine the level of damage. The best artificial joint and surgical technique for an individual depends on their age, weight, activity level, size and shape of the knee, and overall health.

Candidates for Knee Cap Replacement


Knee replacement surgery is typically sought out to reduce pain caused by arthritis. People who have this surgery often experience difficulty walking, climbing stairs, and getting up from chairs. If only one part of the knee is damaged, then surgeons may opt to replace that specific part. In contrast, if the entire joint has to be replaced, the ends of the thigh bone and shinbone will be reshaped and resurfaced. These bones are composed of hard tubes with a soft center, and the artificial parts are inserted into the softer central part of the bones. Additionally, ligaments, which are bands of tissue that help keep the joint together, may need implants to strengthen them.

Benefits of a Knee Cap Replacement

Many people get a total knee replacement to reduce the discomfort caused by arthritis or other conditions that damage the knee joint. Research has revealed that this surgery is highly effective in providing relief from pain. Most individuals who have had this type of surgery report feeling better than they had in a long time – sometimes even decades.

Following the surgery, pain generally decreases for knee replacement patients, allowing them to move their knees more comfortably. This can lead to increased health benefits through physical activity, which can then have a positive effect on their overall quality of life. Many patients report being able to resume activities they had to abandon due to their arthritis.

People who have had a total knee replacement often report an improved capacity to move around, as well as an improved overall functioning. This can include increased ability to walk a longer distance or to use stairs more easily than before the surgery. As a result, those who have had a total knee replacement often experience a greater sense of independence.

A total knee replacement can lead to a decrease in pain levels that is so significant that many people no longer require pain medication.

Preparing for Knee Cap Replacement Surgery

Prior to your surgery, your health care team may suggest that you stop using certain medications and dietary supplements. Additionally, you should not consume any food after midnight on the day of your operation.

Prior to your surgery, it is necessary to obtain crutches or a walker. Additionally, make sure to arrange for someone to give you a ride home from the hospital. During your knee cap replacement recovery period, it is recommended to have assistance with everyday tasks such as cooking, bathing and doing laundry. To make your home more accessible, you can create a living space on one floor and install safety bars or a secure handrail in your shower or bath. Additionally, secure stairway handrails, get a stable chair with a firm seat cushion and back, and a footstool to elevate your leg. If your toilet is low, you should get a toilet seat riser with arms. Obtain a stable bench or chair for your shower and remove loose rugs and cords.

The Knee Cap Replacement Procedure

When you arrive for your procedure, you will likely be instructed to take off your clothes and put on a hospital gown. You may receive either a spinal block, which will numb the lower half of your body, or a general anesthetic, which will cause you to slip into a sleep-like state. Additionally, your surgeon may inject a numbing medication around the nerves or in and around the joint to reduce pain after the surgery.

A knee replacement surgery typically lasts anywhere from 1-2 hours. The surgeon will make an incision over the knee and then remove any diseased or damaged bone and cartilage, leaving any healthy bone untouched. Afterwards, the replacement parts are implanted into the thigh bone, shinbone and kneecap.

Recovery and Rehabilitation After Knee Cap Replacement


Following a surgical procedure, a period of rest in the recovery area is necessary. The amount of time that you spend in the hospital is dependent on your individual requirements; however, many people are able to go home on the same day. For those who have undergone knee replacement surgery, the risk of blood clots is increased. To reduce the risk, you may be encouraged to move early, wear elastic compression stockings or inflatable air sleeves on the lower legs, and take prescribed blood thinners. Frequent breathing exercises and gradually increasing your activity level is also encouraged. Once discharged from the hospital, you will likely continue physical therapy either at home or a center.

In conclusion, knee cap replacement surgery offers a ray of hope for individuals grappling with severe knee pain and limited mobility due to patellofemoral joint issues. By understanding the fundamentals of this orthopaedic surgery, patients can make informed decisions about their health and well-being. It’s important to remember that each individual’s case is unique, and consulting with a qualified orthopaedic surgeon is crucial to determining the most suitable treatment plan. As medical advancements continue to improve the outcomes of knee cap replacement surgeries, the prospect of living a life with restored knee function and reduced pain becomes a tangible reality for many.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Knee Cap Replacement Surgery?

Knee cap replacement surgery, also known as patellofemoral replacement, is a surgical procedure aimed at treating severe knee pain and dysfunction caused by damage to the patellofemoral joint. This joint is located between the kneecap (patella) and the thigh bone (femur).

Who is a Candidate for Knee Cap Replacement?

Candidates for knee cap replacement typically have advanced osteoarthritis or other degenerative conditions that have severely damaged the patellofemoral joint. Patients experiencing significant pain and reduced mobility despite conservative treatments may consider this procedure.

What Are the Benefits of Knee Cap Replacement?

Knee cap replacement can alleviate chronic knee pain, restore joint function, and improve overall quality of life. It is especially effective in cases where the patellofemoral joint is affected, providing targeted pain relief and improved movement.

How is the Procedure Performed?

During knee cap replacement, the damaged surface of the patella and the corresponding area of the femur are removed. These surfaces are then replaced with artificial components made of metal and plastic, allowing for smoother joint movement.

What is the Recovery Process Like?

The recovery period after knee cap replacement surgery varies, but patients typically need several weeks to a few months for rehabilitation. Physical therapy and exercises are crucial for regaining strength and range of motion in the knee.

What Are the Risks and Complications?

As with any surgery, knee cap replacement comes with potential risks such as infection, blood clots, implant loosening, and nerve damage. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss these risks with you before the procedure.

How Long Does the Prosthesis Last?

The longevity of the knee cap prosthesis varies depending on factors such as your activity level, weight, and overall joint health. While prosthetics can last for many years, they may eventually require replacement in some cases.

Is Knee Cap Replacement the Same as Total Knee Replacement?

No, knee cap replacement specifically focuses on the patellofemoral joint, while total knee replacement involves replacing all three compartments of the knee joint. Your orthopaedic surgeon will determine the most appropriate procedure based on your condition.



Dr Yong Ren’s Profile

Dr Yong Ren graduated from the National University of Singapore’s Medical faculty and embarked on his orthopaedic career soon after. Upon completion of his training locally, he served briefly as an orthopaedic trauma surgeon in Khoo Teck Puat hospital before embarking on sub-specialty training in Switzerland at the famed Inselspital in Bern.

He underwent sub-specialty training in pelvic and spinal surgery, and upon his return to Singapore served as head of the orthopaedic trauma team till 2019. He continues to serve as Visiting Consultant to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

Well versed in a variety of orthopaedic surgeries, he also served as a member of the country council for the local branch of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen (Trauma) in Singapore. He was also involved in the training of many of the young doctors in Singapore and was appointed as an Assistant Professor by the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. Prior to his entry into the private sector, he also served as core faculty for orthopaedic resident training by the National Healthcare Group.

Dr Yong Ren brings to the table his years of experience as a teacher and trainer in orthopaedic surgery. With his expertise in minimally invasive fracture surgery, pelvic reconstructive surgery, hip and knee surgery as well as spinal surgery, he is uniquely equipped with the tools and expertise necessary to help you on your road to recovery.

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Sarah Taylor

Obstetrics & Gynaecology