Six Steps of Knee Replacement Surgery

When you’ve spent years living with chronic pain and immobility, the decision to pursue knee replacement surgery is about more than eliminating symptoms; it’s about taking back your life. Whether it be through a total knee replacement or more conservative treatment measures, OrthoAspen is dedicated to supporting our patients’ active lifestyles and getting them back to doing the things they love.

Total knee replacement surgery is an intensive procedure; but it features one of the highest rates of post-surgical patient satisfaction. That’s because it effectively restores the structure of the knee joint that injury, arthritis, or other degenerative conditions has damaged over time. By replacing degraded knee joint components with prosthetic replacements, knee replacement surgery produces a dramatic reduction in chronic symptoms and a restored ability to perform formerly inhibited activities.

The Knee Replacement Procedure: Step-by-Step

If you have made the decision to undergo knee replacement surgery, an understanding of the process ahead can help you to mentally and physically prepare. There are numerous steps of the treatment process that precede surgery; these include diagnosis, physical examination, and imaging tests and scans.

The basic surgical procedure will include the following six steps:

  1. Operation Initiation
    At the commencement of the operation, the patient will be put under anesthesia by a professional anesthesiologist. The surgeon will then make an incision to access the interior of the damaged knee joint.
  2. Bone Preparation
    Before prosthetic components can be installed, the damaged bone and cartilage within the joint must be removed. During the bone preparation step, the surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone surfaces from the ends of the femur and tibia.
  3. Installation of Prosthetic Components
    Once the damaged bone has been cleared away, the surgeon will begin reconstructing the knee joint using metal implants. These prosthetic components will recreate the joint surface and will be either pressed or cemented into the bones of the knee joint.
  4. Patella Resurfacing
    After the prosthetic components have been installed, the surgeon will determine if the patella (kneecap) needs to be resurfaced. If so, the underside will be cut and resurfaced.
  5. Insertion of Spacer
    To allow for smooth movements, space needs to be maintained between the prosthetic joint implants. For this purpose, the surgeon will insert a plastic spacer.
  6. Closure of Operation
    After the spacer has been successfully installed, the surgical incision will be closed and the surgery proper will be concluded. The patient will be sent to a recovery room where they will gradually be awoken from the anesthesia.

After the surgical process is concluded, the recovery process begins. And at the conclusion of the recovery process, you will have all the freedom and life enjoyment that comes with a functional, symptom-free knee.

At OrthoAspen, we are committed to promoting active lifestyles. For patients with chronic knee pain, knee replacement surgery often represents the best means of reclaiming the active lifestyle that knee joint degeneration prohibits. To learn more about knee replacement treatment at OrthoAspen or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1110
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1110