What Is Knee Replacement Surgery?

Northwestern Medicine offers replacement surgery for a broad range of knee problems, including:

  • Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Fractures
  • Ligament injuries and tears
  • Sports and work-related injuries
  • Trauma

Knee replacement, also called arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis. In knee replacement surgery, the weight-bearing surfaces of your knee joint are replaced with prosthetic joint hardware. During knee replacement surgery you can expect the following:

  • The heads of both the thighbone (femur) and the leg bone (tibia) are removed
  • Both ends of the bones are reshaped to accept metal fittings
  • The new fittings are put in place, and a small plastic liner is inserted between the metal pieces to keep the joint moving smoothly
  • A kneecap liner is put into place to prevent any friction on the new joint

The goal of knee replacement surgery is to resurface the parts of the knee joint that have been damaged and to relieve knee pain that cannot be controlled by other treatments.

Mako™ Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery

Mako technology can be used for partial knee replacement, which is a procedure designed to relieve the pain caused by joint degeneration due to osteoarthritis. By selectively targeting the part of your knee damaged by osteoarthritis, your surgeon can replace the diseased part of your knee while helping to spare the healthy bone and ligaments surrounding it. Learn more about Mako technology and how it works.

Meet the Teams

Northwestern Medicine spine surgeon Dr. Aruna Ganju performing surgery.
Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics has a complete range of specialized orthopaedic care to get you back in motion, offering leading-edge care for arthritis, recovery from sports injury, and joint replacement that meets your needs.
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    The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.