What is a Total Knee Replacement?

A knee replacement (also called knee arthroplasty) involves a replacement of only the surface of the bones. The four steps to a knee replacement include:

  1. Prepare the bone. Damaged cartilage surfaces are removed.
  2. Position the implants. The removed cartilage is replaced with components that recreate the surface of the joint.
  3. Resurface the patella. The undersurface of the patella (kneecap) is resurfaced with a plastic button.
  4. Insert a spacer. A medical-grade plastic spacer is inserted between the components to create a smooth gliding surface.


  • Image: Blausen.com staff. “Blausen gallery 2014”. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 20018762.