When pain is not helped by other treatments, many people find knee surgery an option well worth pursuing.

Total joint replacement. The most common knee surgery is total knee replacement, a procedure in which the damaged knee joint is removed and replaced with prosthesis of metal, ceramic and/or plastic components. The knee is the most common replaced joint. Knee replacement is an option when irreparable joint damage interferes with function and causes constant pain that is not alleviated by more conservative therapies.

Read “10 Ways to Avoid Knee Surgery.”

Joint replacement surgery improves symptoms, function in older adults with osteoarthritis.

What to consider when making a decision about knee replacement surgery.

Learn more about knee replacement surgery from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Arthroscopy.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive knee surgery performed by inserting a lighted scope and narrow instruments through small incisions in the skin over the knee. Arthroscopic surgery can be used for the following:

• to remove or repair torn menisci
• to repair a torn cruciate ligament
• to trim torn pieces of joint cartilage
• to remove loose bodies
• to remove an inflamed joint lining (synovectomy).

While knee arthroscopy is a procedure that is helpful for many people, there is controversy over the usefulness of some arthroscopic procedures.

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Learn more about knee arthroscopy from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Learn more about surgery, preparing for surgery and recovering from surgery.

Osteotomy. If the damage to your knee is mostly limited to one section, your doctor may recommend a surgery called osteotomy. In an osteotomy, the surgeon reshapes the bones and repositions them to take the weight off of the damaged part of the knee. In doing so it can help relieve pain and improve function, particularly for someone who is not ready to have a total knee replacement. An osteotomy may also be used to correct a broken knee that hasn't healed properly.

Learn more about osteotomy and other knee surgeries from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.