Cemented and Non-Cemented Knee Replacements

When you are in the process of getting a knee replaced, your orthopedic surgeon will have the options of either cementing your knee prosthesis into place or, not using cement and allowing the surrounding bone to fix itself to the prosthetic components.

This is something you as the patient want to be sure you understand and discuss with your surgeon regarding the advantages and disadvantages of both procedures and, what method your surgeon is considering. This also is very important information to know during your rehabilitation process and your physical rehabilitation professional will be sure to have that information in hand while in your recovery.

The main difference when it comes to physical rehabilitation is that with the cemented knee prosthesis you will be allowed to weight bear as tolerated on the affected leg. With a non cemented knee prosthesis, you will be given special instructions on how much body weight you can place on the affected leg.

In a cemented knee prosthesis, the type of adhesive used is a special cement called polymethylmethacrylate which dries very quickly and is stable within minutes. Most knee replacements done today are cemented. The advantages of a having a cemented knee replacement is you are able to get out of bed and walk on it immediately with the aid of a walker placing as much weight through your knee as you can tolerate.

The rehabilitation process also moves quicker as you do not have weight-bearing restrictions to follow. When someone has a knee replaced that is not cemented, the rehabilitation process will be slower due to the extra weight-bearing precautions. In some cases where I have worked with patients that have the non cemented procedure completed, they may be following non-weight bearing precautions for up to six or eight weeks.

The thinking in considering whether to use a cemented or non cemented knee prosthesis will involve someones age for instance. If you were considered a younger adult, your surgeon may have been tempted to use a non cemented replacement.

The thought being that you more than likely would need a knee revision at some point as you age and, will develop wear and tear on the prosthesis. The revision may be easier to perform if the prosthesis is not secured by the strong adhesive that has to be broken loose. Also there was the consideration of cement debris breaking loose and causing or speeding up the loosening of the knee prosthetic over time.

Cementless components have not been used as long as cemented ones have. Conclusive long term use is not absolute at this time. In the short-term both have comparable levels of success however.

Your orthopedic surgeon will have an idea during consultation what method he may prefer to use. If you are looking for quicker recovery after surgery due to work obligations or if you are over the age of 55, consider going with the cemented fixation.