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Jonathan Cluett, M.D.

Bilateral Knee Replacement Becoming Safer?

By January 8, 2013

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Knee replacement surgery is performed on patients with severe knee arthritis, who have failed to find improvement with nonoperative treatments for arthritis. Often knee arthritis is a problem in both of a patient's knees.

Bilateral knee replacement surgery means that both knees are replaced. Patients who have severe knee arthritis in both knees may be good candidates to undergo bilateral total knee replacement. In general, there are two types of bilateral knee replacement surgery:

  • Simultaneous Bilateral Knee Replacement
    A simultaneous procedure means that both knees are replaced at the same surgery, in one day.
  • Staged Bilateral Knee Replacement
    A staged procedure means that the knees are both replaced, but not on the same day. The second surgery may be performed as early as several days after the initial surgery, or several weeks or months later.

Doctors have been concerned about a higher complication rate in patients undergoing bilateral knee replacement. However, new data has shown that over the past decade bilateral knee replacement has become progressively safer. The complication rate is getting close to that of a standard knee replacement surgery

Related: eCourse: Knee Replacement Surgery | Knee Arthritis | When to have a knee replacement?

Sources: Have Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasties Become Safer?: A Population-Based Trend Analysis

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