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Types of Knee Replacements

    Learn about different components in a total knee replacement and how they work


Educating yourself about the different knee replacements available can help you ask your doctor the right questions about your options. Your doctor may recommend a treatment based on the damage to your knee, bone strength, age, lifestyle and other medical conditions you have.

Types of Partial Knee Replacement

The knee is made up of three areas: medial and lateral (the sides of your knee) and patella (the kneecap).

When fewer than three of these areas need to be replaced, it is called a unicompartmental or partial knee replacement. By replacing only the damaged areas, you are able to retain more of your own natural knee.

See how a Sigma® High Performance Partial Knee may help restore more natural movement

Types of Total Knee Replacement

Knee replacement surgery resurfaces the bones at the top of your shin (tibia) and the bottom of your thigh (femur) with an implant made of metal and plastic parts.

The top of your shinbone is resurfaced with a metal tray, or bearing, topped with a medical-grade plastic spacer. This plastic replaces the cartilage, providing a smooth surface for your new knee.

An area at the bottom of your thighbone is resurfaced with a rounded metal part. This piece is designed to mimic the curve of your natural bone. The undersurface of the kneecap may also be replaced with a medical-grade plastic.

There are two types of bearings used, fixed and rotating platform. In fixed-bearing implants, the bearing is firmly attached to the metal tray on the shinbone. It is "fixed" in position and cannot move. In rotating platform implants, the bearing can "rotate" or move as the knee flexes, which allows for a more natural motion in the knee compared to traditional knee replacement. This rotation may also reduce the stress and wear on the implant.1

Learn more about Sigma Rotating Knees and Sigma Fixed-Bearing Knees

See how rotating knees compare to fixed-bearing knees

Important Safety Information

The performance of knee replacements depends on age, weight, activity level, and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell if knee replacement is right for you.

Talk to a doctor about your knee condition
Use our Surgeon Locator to find a surgeon near you who can discuss your options with Sigma® Knee Replacement solutions.

 Next: DePuy Implant Advancements

1. McNulty DE, Swope SW, Auger DD, Smith T. The effect of crosslinking UHMWPE on in vitro wear rates of fixed and mobile bearing knees. ASTM STP 1445. Gsell, R. et al. American Society for Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, PA. Available online at www.astm.org (2004).


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