Informed Patient Tutorial
Copyright 2012 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Informed Patient - Total Knee Replacement


Welcome to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' Informed Patient Program. These online learning modules have been developed by orthopaedic surgeons to help you better understand your condition and the treatments your doctor recommends.

The buttons at the bottom of this screen will help you navigate through the learning module. You may choose to turn the audio off or back on at any time during the module.

We also offer a printer-friendly version of this module. Simply click the "Print" button in the bottom left corner to create a paper copy.

Click the "Next" button to begin your learning module.

Total knee replacement is a safe and effective surgical procedure for relieving knee pain and restoring physical function in patients who are no longer helped by nonsurgical treatments.

According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed in the United States each year.

This learning module will explain why your knee may hurt and what treatments may be used to relieve the pain. It will review some of the causes of a painful knee and discuss nonsurgical treatment options.

It will then explain why a total knee replacement may be the best option for you, and what you can expect after surgery.

There are 10 parts to this learning module. As you work through them, you will be asked whether you understand the information, and you will be reminded to write down any questions you still have. This way, you will be able to bring your questions with you the next time you see your orthopaedic surgeon.

The learning module includes the following sections:

  • Your Knee: The anatomy of the knee is explained.
  • Causes: Many conditions cause a painful knee. This section describes some of the conditions that may lead to knee pain.
  • Symptoms: This section explains some of the signs to look for in a painful, osteoarthritic knee.
  • Diagnosis: This section explains some of the ways knee arthritis is diagnosed.
  • Nonsurgical Treatment: There are many nonsurgical options physicians have to treat osteoarthritis. Some of these are explained in this section.
  • Surgical Treatment: This section describes common surgical treatment options.
  • Your Total Knee Replacement Surgery: This section reviews what you may expect during total knee replacement surgery.
  • After Surgery: This section explains what you may expect after total knee replacement surgery.
  • Risks and Complications: Some risks and complications can be expected with any surgery. This section outlines some of the most common risks associated with total knee replacement surgery.
  • Conclusion: This section sums up the information and provides you with an opportunity to add more questions for your doctor.