What Are The Most Common Types of Knee Surgery?

By: Nikki Clayton, PT, DPT, ATC

What are the Most Common Types of Knee Surgery?

The quick answer is the most common types of knee surgeries are:

  • Meniscectomy
  • Meniscus Repair
  • Meniscus Transplant
  • Plica Removal
  • Lateral Release
  • Microfracture
  • ACL Reconstruction
  • Tendon Repair
  • Knee Replacements

These procedures are explained more in the following paragraphs. 

Knee AnatomyImage of the Knee Ligaments

What is the Knee?

The quick answer is the knee is the largest joint in your body and one of the most complex. It is comprised of the lower leg bone (the tibia), the thigh bone (the femur) and the knee cap (the patella), as well as multiple tendons, muscles, ligaments and cartilage that connect at the knee. JOI Most Common Knee SurgeriesImage of JOI - Most Common Knee Surgeries

It is responsible for supporting most of your body weight, making it susceptible to various types of damage and injury.  

If you have a painful condition to the knee that does not respond well to conservative treatment, there are various surgical options available to you, depending on your knee injury. 

Meniscus Involvement

Meniscectomy: If you have pain and swelling in the knee, you might have a meniscus tear. The meniscus is the shock-absorbing wedge of cartilage that sits on the tibia in the knee to provide a cushion with impact. 

In a Meniscectomy, the portion of the torn meniscus is removed via arthroscopy. In arthroscopy, small incisions are made on the knee to allow a small camera and tool to safely complete the surgery. 

Meniscus Repair: In some instances, the meniscus tear is in a portion of the meniscus that has good blood supply. Therefore, the doctor may choose to complete a repair of the torn meniscus, via a meniscectomy. 

This may be more beneficial to the patient, as it could decrease their risk of future arthritis by not having to remove a portion of the meniscus, but the recovery is typically longer. 

Meniscus Transplant: A transplant occurs in a patient who has had complete removal of the meniscus, and continues to have knee pain. It constitutes placing a meniscus from a donor patient into the knee of the patient. This is also completed via arthroscopy.  

Other Surgeries

Plica Removal: The plica is a remnant of tissue from fetal development. Generally, it is lost over time, but in some cases, some of the plica will remain. If conservative treatment of plica irritation does not resolve the symptoms, arthroscopy can be used to remove the excess plica from the knee.  

Lateral Release: This surgical technique is used to remove the tissue on the outside of the knee that holds the knee cap (patella) in place. If the lateral retinaculum is too tight, it can pull the patella laterally and cause pain. If the pain persists, the doctor may choose to release the lateral retinaculum to allow for improved patellar tracking. 

Microfracture: Microfracture is completed in an area of the knee with small cartilage damage inside the joint. The problem with a microfracture is that it only works on a small area of damage in the knee. Healing cartilage is also not the same as normal joint cartilage, therefore pain and persistent damage are possible. 

Ligaments and Tendon Involvement

ACL Reconstruction: The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the 4 major ligaments of the knee. It is also one of the most common injuries in athletes. The ACL is responsible for the stability of the knee. If torn, patients may complain of “giving way” in the knee. Therefore, they will have the ligament replaced to regain stability. 

Tendon Repair: The most common tendon to repair in the knee is the quadriceps or patellar tendon. Both cross the knee joint, just at slightly different locations. In these cases, it is usually an open procedure with a scar along the front of the knee. 

Knee Replacements 

Depending on the severity of arthritis of the knee, a partial or total knee replacement can be performed. If only a compartment of the knee is arthritic, the doctors will use implant pieces to only replace that compartment. If the entire joint is in need of replacement, doctors will use a metal and plastic knee replacement implant to restore the nature of the knee. 

Robotic Knee Replacement

JOI also is the leader in providing robotic knee and hip replacements use the Mako robot. JOI orthopaedic surgeons have the most experience using the Mako robot in the Northeast Florida region. Robotic surgery is currently available for a partial knee replacement, a total knee replacement and a total hip replacement.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call (904) 858-7045 or if you want to see a JOI Orthopaedic Knee Specialist, please call JOI-2000, schedule online or click below.

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