Revision Knee Surgery

A replacement joint that wears out, loosens or develops a problem, can be resurfaced or replaced in a joint revision operation. Using regular X-ray examinations, the orthopedic surgeon can detect and monitor any changes in the artificial joint, and plan for revision surgery before a major problem develops.

In revision knee surgery, the surgeon removes the original prosthesis, cement, surrounding tissue and dead bone before inserting a new prosthesis. Thanks to our patented techniques for hip and knee revision surgery, most patients experience better outcomes and fewer complications.

Postoperative care for revision surgery is the same as that for the original replacement surgery. Patients usually have a combination of home health care, physical and occupational therapy and other forms of rehabilitation.

Possible complications from this procedure are similar to those in the original joint replacement surgery. However, in general the success rate for revision surgery is lower than that of original joint replacement surgery because the bone is weaker and the prosthesis is more likely to loosen.

Complications from Revision Knee Surgery May Include:

  • Infection (in only two to four percent of cases).
  • Loosening of the new prosthesis (in 10 to 15 percent of cases). The likelihood is much greater if patient is overweight and/or does not use crutches during the first few months.
  • Dislocation (twice as common as for a primary procedure).
  • One leg is shorter than the other.
  • Bone loss in the joint (grafting sometimes helps).

If the joint is infected, it might have to be surgically removed and re-implanted with antibiotic-filled cement. In addition, intravenous (IV) antibiotics might be necessary for six to eight weeks, followed by at-home treatment of oral antibiotics. Although these complications may seem discouraging, patients often experience no complications at all. Advancements in technology and surgical techniques are increasing the number of successful revision surgeries. At the Cedars-Sinai Orthopaedic Center, patients' chances for completely successful outcomes are well above national averages.

Anyone who is a potential candidate for revision knee surgery should call 1-800-CEDARS-1 (1-800-233-2771) for an appointment and a preoperative assessment.