Who Is a Candidate for Total Knee Replacement?

Who Is a Candidate for Total Knee Replacement?

While the thought of surgery can be intimidating, the reality is that for some people with severe knee pain, a total knee replacement can be the best chance for an active life without pain.

A Nashville native, Dr. Brandon Downs and our highly trained team, at Orthopaedic Specialists, with 7 locations throughout Tennessee, perform computer-assisted minimally invasive joint replacement for people who need help overcoming severe knee pain. But how do you know when it’s time to commit to surgery?

In this blog, we explore the top five signs that you’re a good candidate for a total knee replacement. 

Quick facts about total knee replacements

Total knee arthroplasty 一 more often referred to as a total knee replacement 一 involves removing damaged parts of your knee, reshaping any deformed elements, and replacing portions with high-quality prosthetic components. 

Total knee replacements can be performed as an open surgery or as a minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive procedures usually cause less pain and bleeding, fewer complications, and speedier recoveries. 

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, approximately 750,000 knee replacements are performed every year. 

5 signs you’re a good candidate for a total knee replacement

Before you commit to knee replacement surgery, the first step is to receive an orthopedic evaluation. During your appointment, our team at Orthopaedic Specialists performs a physical examination, reviews your symptoms, and asks questions about your medical history. Diagnostic imaging, including MRIs and X-rays, also provide valuable information about the condition of your knee.

Depending on the results of your evaluation, our team may recommend a knee replacement if:

1. Your pain is significant and limiting

If your pain limits your mobility, causes issues standing or walking, or requires the use of a cane, these could be signs that you’re a candidate for surgery. Surgery isn’t typically the first treatment for knee pain, but if your pain persists despite other options, surgery might be the best path forward.

2. You’ve already tried other treatments 

There are many reasons why your knee hurts or is inflamed. Osteoarthritis is a common culprit. Typical treatments for knee pain and swelling include:

If these conservative treatments don’t offer relief, it could be time for a total knee arthroplasty.

3. You don’t have any contraindicating conditions

Surgery isn’t right for everyone. You might need to consider an alternative treatment if you have any of the following conditions:

If knee replacement isn’t right for you, our team can recommend alternative options, including physical therapy.

4. You’re in good overall health

As with all surgeries, you should be in good overall health and cleared for surgery. A pre-op exam makes sure your body can tolerate surgery, and it also gives our providers a chance to make the appropriate pre-op recommendations. That may include altering or stopping certain medications prior to surgery.

5. You’re a nonsmoker

Smoking can delay healing after any surgery, including total knee replacements. Studies show that preoperative smoking cessation improves the success rate after knee replacement surgery. 

What does a total knee replacement surgery involve?

As the name suggests, joint replacement surgery involves the removal of any damaged bones or cartilage and the placement of a knee prosthesis. With your new prosthesis in place, you’ll experience smooth movement in your knee once again. Physical therapy ensures that your healing continues. Rest assured that we prepare you for every step of your journey, starting with knee replacement prep classes.


If you are experiencing knee pain, call one of our seven offices today to find out if you’re a candidate for a total knee replacement. We’re conveniently located in Nashville, Dickson, Ashland, Fairview, Kingston Springs, Centerville, and Gallatin, Tennessee. You can also request an appointment at any of these locations by using our online scheduling tool. 

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