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Knee replacement

Overview of knee replacement

If you have difficulty walking or moving your knee without pain, your doctor may recommend a knee replacement (also called knee arthroplasty) to help relieve discomfort and restore proper function to your knee joint. Knee replacement surgery may be helpful if you have stiffness or pain in your knee that makes simple activities very difficult, and if other treatments or medicine haven’t been successful at alleviating your pain. 

Orthopedic surgeons at Dignity Health are committed to providing you with advanced clinical treatment and individualized care to help you get back to doing what you love. If your doctor recommends a knee replacement, Find a Doctor today. 

Why it’s necessary

You might be a candidate for knee replacement if you have difficulty walking or knee pain associated with everyday activities. If you have severe pain caused by osteoarthritis, treatment may involve surgery to replace your knee joint with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics, or other materials. Your artificial knee will act just like your knee, allowing it to roll and glide as it bends.  

To determine whether a knee replacement is right for you, your doctor will assess your knee’s range of motion, stability, and strength. They will use imaging techniques such as x-ray to view the extent of your knee damage.  

People who have knee pain that severely interferes with walking, climbing stairs, getting out of chairs, or other routine aspects of everyday life are good candidates for a total knee replacement. Patients may also have moderate or severe pain at rest, chronic knee inflammation, or a deformity. Candidates for knee replacement have not improved with other treatments such as physical therapy or injections. 

Common conditions treated with knee replacement

Knee replacements are primarily used to treat knee pain. This can be pain associated with everyday activities as well as pain at rest. Knee replacements also help with: 

  • Pain associated with osteoarthritis 
  • Chronic knee inflammation 
  • Knee deformities 


At Dignity Health, our team of orthopedic surgeons performs partial and total knee replacement surgery.  

  • Partial knee replacement. Your surgeon will replace only one part of your knee (either the inside or outside of your kneecap). 
  • Total knee replacement (arthroplasty). Your surgeon will remove the damaged parts of your knee (cartilage and bone) and replace them with new artificial implants to restore knee alignment and function. 


As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery comes with some risks. These risks include: 

  • Blood clots in the leg vein or lungs 
  • Heart attack 
  • Stroke 

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.