Knee pain can significantly impact your quality of life. Simple activities like walking, climbing stairs, or even getting out of bed can become increasingly difficult. For individuals with severe knee arthritis isolated to the underside of the kneecap (patella) and the trochlear groove in the thighbone, a knee cap replacement, also known as patellofemoral replacement (PFR), can offer a solution.

**Understanding PFR**

PFR is a type of partial knee replacement surgery. Unlike total knee replacement, which resurfaces the entire joint, knee cap replacement PFR focuses solely on the patellofemoral compartment. This targeted approach offers several advantages, including a shorter surgery time, quicker recovery, and preservation of healthy ligaments and bone in the knee.

**Who is a Candidate for PFR?**

PFR is typically recommended for patients with:

* **Isolated patellofemoral arthritis:** This means significant wear and tear is present only on the underside of the kneecap and the trochlear groove.

* **Persistent pain:** Despite conservative measures like medication, physical therapy, and injections, knee cap replacement pain continues to limit daily activities.

* **Good bone health:** The surrounding bone must be strong enough to support the implant.

* **Active lifestyle:** Ideal candidates are individuals who desire an active lifestyle but are hindered by knee pain.

**The Surgical Procedure**

PFR is typically performed under general anesthesia. During the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision over the knee and carefully positions the kneecap to access the joint. The damaged cartilage and bone surfaces are removed from the underside of the patella and the trochlear groove. The surgeon then implants prosthetic components made of metal and plastic to restore a smooth gliding surface. Finally, the kneecap is repositioned, tissues are repaired, and the incision is closed.

**Recovery and Rehabilitation**

Following surgery, physical therapy is crucial for regaining strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the knee. Patients can usually bear weight on the knee immediately after surgery with the assistance of a walker or crutches. Recovery typically takes several weeks to months, with most patients returning to most activities within 3-6 months.

**Benefits of PFR**

PFR offers several benefits over traditional total knee replacement:

* **Faster recovery:** Due to the smaller incision and preservation of healthy tissues, recovery from PFR is generally quicker than total knee replacement.

* **Preserves ligaments and bone:** PFR helps maintain the natural stability and function of the knee joint.

* **Reduced pain and improved mobility:** By resurfacing the damaged joint surfaces, PFR significantly reduces pain and improves knee function.

* **Faster return to activities:** Patients can often return to their desired activities sooner with PFR compared to total knee replacement.

Knee cap replacement can be a life-changing procedure for individuals suffering from severe patellofemoral arthritis. By resurfacing the damaged joint and preserving healthy tissues, PFR offers pain relief, improved mobility, and a faster return to an active lifestyle. If you are experiencing chronic knee pain that limits your activities, consult with an orthopedic surgeon to discuss if PFR may be the right option for you.

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