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Knee Replacement Surgery


A primary total knee replacement is a first time knee replacement surgery.

The goals of a knee replacement are to get rid of knee pain and help you be more active. A knee that is stiff and painful can be replaced with an artificial joint. This is called knee prosthesis.

If only part of your knee joint is affected by arthritis, you may be able to have a partial-knee replacement. This is also called a unicondylar knee arthroplasty.


In a healthy knee, the surfaces of these bones are smooth. They’re covered with joint fluid. The wetness helps them roll, rotate and glide over each other. Cartilage covers the bones, helping them move smoothly. The knee joint bends freely. It is protected by the kneecap and held in place by muscles and ligaments.

In a damaged knee, the surfaces of these bones become rough. This causes pain when they rub together. The cartilage may wear away, leaving nothing to help the bones move smoothly. Arthritis can cause the joint to swell. This causes pain and stiffness in the knee.


Your damaged knee joint can be replaced with new, smooth-surfaced parts called components or implants. They are made of metal, ceramic, and plastic. Your surgeon will decide which of these are right for you.

The surgery takes about two hours – much less time than many other surgeries. The time you’ll spend in the hospital is also fairly short, about 2 days.

For more information about hip replacement surgery including possible complications and FAQs, please browse our patient information guide below.

Download the pdf guide here.

Learn how to correctly clean the skin before a hip replacement surgery by reading our patient information guide below.

Download the pdf guide here.


Rehabilitation for those undergoing either joint reconstruction or replacement begins immediately after surgery. The rehabilitation team helps patients progress through a range of rehabilitation exercises to enhance range of motion and strengthening around the joint. Programs are personalized for each patient based on their condition and type of surgery. In an outpatient setting, patients increase their ability to bear weight while walking, and strive to walk without an assistance device.

2023 Best Hospitals - Orthopedics

#37 in the Nation by U.S. News & World Report

2023 High Performance Badge - Knee Replacement

Find a doctor or make an appointment: 866.867.3627
General Information: 314.747.3000
One Barnes-Jewish Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63110
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