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Total Knee Revision 

Total knee revision surgery is used to fix a prosthetic knee that is loosened or damaged.
A total knee arthroplasty (or knee replacement) is typically very effective at eliminating chronic knee pain and enhancing a person’s quality of life. But these prosthetics don’t last forever—and when someone has outlived their artificial knee’s lifespan (around 15 years) or have otherwise loosened or damaged the prosthetic, total knee revision surgery may be performed to get the joint back into working order. 

When Total Knee Revision Is Needed 

Doctors will recommend total knee revision surgery for similar reasons as the initial knee replacement: to relieve pain and discomfort from a damaged joint. But there are other reasons specific to the prosthetic joint itself, including situations where: 

  • The implant has become loose or broken in some areas, causing instability, decreased range of motion or osteolysis (when the body’s immune system attacks the bone around a knee joint while fighting off particles from the defective implant) 
  • The area around the implant has become infected following an initial knee arthroplasty 
  • The patient has outlived the joint, which has deteriorated after many years of wear and tear 
  • There is a fracture near the implant 

Procedure Details 

Total knee replacement revision surgery is a far more complex procedure than an initial knee replacement. It may require the replacement of several small parts or the entire prosthetic joint itself. Any cement used in the original procedure may need to be removed and, if there is enough bone loss in the knee area, the surgeon may have to add metal augments to compensate for the lost bone. 

What to Expect 

This procedure can take several hours to complete and, while the method of treatment is similar to that of a knee arthroplasty, the recovery period is slower and requires a hospital stay of several days. There are risks of blood clots and infection associated with the procedure, but medication, movement and compression devices are used to combat them. 

Effectiveness 

Most patients who undergo a total knee replacement revision procedure will experience pain relief and restoration of the joint’s function and stability. It may take up to several weeks for patients to be able to walk unassisted after staying consistent with physical therapy. 

At Tampa General Hospital’s Orthopaedic Institute, our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons use cutting-edge technology to achieve world-class outcomes for patients undergoing total knee revision surgery and other orthopaedic procedures.