What Your Knee Replacement Implants Are Made Of

Preparing for a total knee replacement can bring lots of questions. One of the them may be about the materials that your new knee will be made of. It is a great question to discuss with your orthopedic surgeon in detail. So that you come to your visit prepared, below is some information about artificial knee joint parts and what they may be made of.

The materials have to be biocompatible, so not to cause a rejection from your body. They have to duplicate the knee structure – able to bear the weight and move smoothly against each other, allowing for flexibility. They also have to last a reasonably long time.

Several manufacturers make knee implants. The choice of implant will depend on several factors such as age, gender, weight, bone dimensions, ligament condition, bone quality, anticipated activity and occupational history.

Although over 150 designs of knee implants exist, there are generally four major parts to an artificial knee joint:

  • femoral component – a contoured implant fit around the end of the femur
  • tibial component – a flat plate and stem implanted in your tibia
  • a spacer in between those two, or a cushion
  • patellar implant on the underside of the knee cap

A combination of metal and plastic is the most common. This type of implant is the least expensive and has the longest track record for safety and implant life span. The femoral component and tibial plate can be made of cobalt-chromium alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, zirconium, and nickel. The spacer and patellar implant are made of high-quality polyethylene plastic.

In rare cases, people can be allergic to metals such as nickel. Then ceramic components can be used. Ceramic parts are the least likely to react with the body. However, in very rare cases ceramic joint prostheses can shatter under heavy pressure and the pieces must be removed by surgery.

Stainless steel is rarely used in knee replacement implants because it is prone to corrosion in the human body.

When meeting with your orthopedic surgeon, you can ask more questions and discuss this topic in greater detail.  The expertise and experience of your surgeon matter the most and ensure a successful outcome.  We suggest these questions to ask your orthopedic surgeon:

  1. How long will my implant last?
  2. Is it a high flex knee implant design that allows safe deep knee bending or is it a cemented model?
  3. Is it a gender specific implant?
  4. How many of the knee replacement surgeries have you performed using current implants?

Health Vantis can connect you to a Board-certified, highly skilled orthopedic surgeons. One of the surgeons we work with offers custom manufactured knee implants. CT or MRI scan is used to determine the exact anatomy of your knee and make a custom implant. To discuss your options further, please call us toll-free 877 344 3544 or email info@healthvantis.com  In our next blog we will be discussing hip joint parts and materials.

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