Complex Knee Replacement

Vasili Karas, M.D., M.S.

Hip and Knee Replacement and Reconstruction located in Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

Although artificial knee implants are built to last many years, a variety of factors may cause your knee replacement to fail. Orthopaedic surgeon and knee replacement and reconstruction specialist Vasili Karas, MD, MS, performs complex knee replacements, including revision surgery, at Chicago Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. If you or a loved one needs revision knee replacement, call the office in Chicago or book an appointment online.

Complex Knee Replacement Q & A

What is a complex knee replacement?

Total knee replacement is among the most successful procedures in modern medicine. Most of the time, knee replacement surgery improves your quality of life by allowing you to enjoy your favorite activities.

However, knee replacements have a lifespan of about 15-20 years, and then they begin to wear out. Within that time, a number of other factors may cause damage to your knee replacement that requires a second surgery to fix.

When a knee replacement wears out, becomes damaged, or fails for any reason, you may need revision or reconstructive surgery.

Why is revision surgery more complex than initial surgery?

During revision knee replacement, Dr. Karas removes the original components and replaces them with new ones. Revision knee replacement is a longer and more complex procedure than primary knee replacement because the original prosthesis has probably fused with your bone.

If your original knee replacement used cement to attach the prosthesis, Dr. Karas needs to remove the cement during your revision surgery. This is a time-consuming process, but Dr. Karas works carefully to preserve as much healthy bone as possible.

In some cases, there’s significant bone loss around the implant. Dr. Karas corrects the areas of bone loss with either a bone graft or a specialized artificial component.

Why would I need revision knee replacement?

Original knee replacements have a limited lifespan, but about half of revision procedures occur within two years of the initial surgery. Aside from normal wear-and-tear, there are several reasons you may need a revision knee replacement, such as:

  • Implant loosening
  • Infection in the artificial joint
  • Knee instability
  • Excessive scar tissue
  • Broken bones

The type of revision surgery you need depends on the specific cause. Dr. Karas has extensive experience in all types of complex knee replacement procedures.

What should I expect from revision knee replacement surgery?

First, Dr. Karas thoroughly evaluates your knee and reviews your medical history. He may also take an X-ray or MRI to examine the structure of your knee replacement.

Then, he makes sure to address any questions, concerns, or worries you may have about the procedure. Dr. Karas believes in establishing good communication so you feel comfortable going into surgery.

Recovery from a complex knee replacement may take longer than your first surgery, but the process is similar.

For the highest-quality care in complex knee replacement surgery, call Chicago Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine or book an appointment online.