For Patients
Dr Fehring and Jennier Suckow PA

When a knee has been damaged from injury or has substantial pain from arthritis, a knee replacement (or knee arthroscopy) is a way to relieve pain and help the affected person return to doing the activities they love. Since the first knee replacement was performed more than 50 years ago, techniques and tools have increasingly improved, making it one of the safest and most effective orthopedic procedures currently available.

Dr. Keith Fehring, a fellowship-trained hip and knee surgeon, and physician assistant Jennifer Suckow have performed many joint replacements including knee replacements. As a medical team at OrthoCarolina’s Hip and Knee Center, they focus only on hips and knees. Here they offer some need-to-know information on knees:


What is a total knee replacement?

Jennifer: A total knee replacement (TKR) is when we take out the damaged parts of the knee and replace them with an artificial joint made up of carefully designed, high-grade metal and plastic. The metal will actually set off metal detectors at the airport! Your damaged cartilage and bone come out, and the plastic acts as your new cartilage and bone. It sits in between two metal pieces.

The tibia (shinbone) has a cut in it that we insert a new piece into during surgery. A special cement holds it in place. A plastic insert sits in between and allows you to bend your knee and acts as a new cushion (pain-free!)

Dr. Fehring: We keep your MCL and LCL, but we do remove the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). We replace the ACL with a plastic insert. Even if you’ve had an ACL surgery you can still have a knee replacement. There is also a plastic button on the back of the kneecap that helps the kneecap track in its groove and takes away the pain of arthritis under your kneecap.

Jennifer: The cement on your new joint replacement hardens almost immediately, which is why we are able to let you walk right away after surgery. It’s pretty neat to be able to go from walking on a diseased joint to a brand new one in a matter of mere hours.


What is a partial knee replacement?

Dr. Fehring: When patients have arthritis spread throughout the entire knee joint, we usually do a total knee replacement, which is much more common than a partial knee replacement. However, some patients only have arthritis in one area of the knee joint. The rest of the knee joint may be healthy and not have arthritis. When some of the knee is still considered “good” there’s an opportunity to do a partial knee replacement.

Jennifer: Like a TKR, for a partial knee replacement metal pieces go on your thigh bone and shin bone and a plastic piece is inserted in between. A partial knee replacement can often mean faster recovery, a shorter hospital stay and more of an overall natural feeling knee post-op than a TKR. However, it’s important to remember that only a small portion of patients are candidates for a partial knee replacement.


What is a robotic-assisted knee replacement?

Dr. Fehring: Robotics has existed in medicine for many years but has only just started to become feasible in orthopedics. We currently use robotics for partial knee replacements and are looking at a platform for robotic-assisted total knee replacements. One of the most frequent questions we get is whether a robot performs the surgery. The answer is no: our physician/physician assistant performs the surgery. However, we use a robotic-assisted arm to help us be more precise putting the surgical implants where we want them.

Jennifer: Robotic-assisted knee replacement surgery is quickly evolving and changing. It utilizes smaller incisions and can help with reduced risk of injury to nearby tissues. This type of technology is an aid and can give patients a better outcome and a longer lasting partial knee replacement. Your doctor will consult with you to develop the best plan for surgery and the best possible surgical outcome for your specific case.

Comments

July 01, 2019

Veteran. I would like to talk to dr keith and Jennifer about doing my knee replacement as soon as possible and are you in Charlotte
- Keith Martin
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

July 01, 2019

Hi Keith, thank you for the note. Please contact our Hip and Knee Center directly at 704.323.2564 to schedule with Dr. Fehring.

May 15, 2018

I had my right total knee replacement by Dr James McDonald in mid November 2017. I am so pleased with the wonderful care that I received leading up to the surgery, during my stay at Lake Norman Regional, and post op visits. Physical Therapy staff was A-1. Looking forward to vacation without pain this summer!
- Diane Schefers

May 10, 2018

I'm 64 and eventually I know I'll be needing both knees done on a knee replacement that is, is it possible to have both knees done and get it over with, I'm I too old for the knee replacements.
- Jimmy Ivey
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 11, 2018

Hi there Jimmy, please contact the Hip & Knee Center at 704.323.2564 so they can answer any questions you may have.

May 10, 2018

Dr Keith did a wonderful knee replacement for me. Thank you
- Agnes Babboni
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 11, 2018

Thank you Agnes.

May 10, 2018

Had my right knee replaced in 2008 and it's great. Had the left one done on Valentine's day 2017 and it gives me a fit and hurts constantly. Wish i had know about you before then.
- Joanne Johnson

May 10, 2018

Last year I had four knee surgeries and another one done in 2015, with Dr. Fehring and Jennifer performing the last two. The final surgery done in September was the best of all. With all new equipment, the surgery was the least painful and the least swelling of the others. They are certainly a great team and would recommend them to anyone.
- Phillip Griffith
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 10, 2018

Thank you Phillip

May 10, 2018

What is the total recovery time and what is involved ?
- Tom Watkins
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 10, 2018

Hi Tom, Please contact the Hip & Knee Center at 704.323.2564 so they can best address your question. Thank you.

May 10, 2018

I had my first TKR in November 2017 and did wonderful. My second in February 2018 and I’m still having pain in my calf, shin, back of the knee and thigh. What am I doing wrong?
- Margaret Long
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 10, 2018

HI Margaret, Please reach out to us at the Hip & Knee Center. The number there is 704.323.2564, They can best address your question. Thank you.

May 10, 2018

Will you be visiting Sun City Carolina Lakes for a seminar on knee replacements in the near future?
- Arnold Weinstein fightingirish501@aol.com
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 10, 2018

Hi Arnold, we are planning to do do. Stay tuned for details!

May 10, 2018

Just got through with a rebuild of a 2011 TKR. Got a staph infection and had to replace the middle plastic portion. PA Michael Roberts, Dr Barret Little and the doctors at Ortho Carolina Rock Hill did an excellent Job for me. Can't say enough good stuff about them !!
- Tom Vinson
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 11, 2018

Thanks for the great comments Tom. They are appreciated!

May 10, 2018

THANK YOU DR. FEHRING AND JENNIFER. I HAD A TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENT IN NOV. 2017, IT IS DOING GREAT. YOU BOTH DONE A GREAT JOB.
- Aaron Dellinger
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 10, 2018

We appreciate that Aaron. Thank you.

May 10, 2018

Dr. Burbank and his P.A. Tony with OrthoCarolina, Pineville performed my TKR for both knees last fall/winter (2017) and did an awesome job of relieving the bon on bone pain I have had for years. The right side was very deformed prior to the surgery, but is perfectly straight again now. Due to a previous total knee reconstruction on my left knee over 35 years ago I suspected that one would take more rehab that the right, but the great physical therapists at that location especially Jenni got the range of motion for that left knee better than it has been in over 35 years. I would definitely recommend these guys to anyone.
- James Davies
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 10, 2018

Thanks so much for the kind words James.

May 10, 2018

How about when you have scar tissue in the total knee.I have that in my last total knee but my first one is fine. Dr.Ranjan Manjan is the best
- Theresa Buchanan

May 10, 2018

Two years ago, I had Total Knee replacement. Dr. Suprock and PA Mike Skropeta preformed my surgery and they are both amazing professionals. Yes, the first week was challenging, but soon thereafter I was very involved in my therapy with some wonderful physical therapists. OrthoCarolina Huntersville is such a wonderful place; so lucky to have them. The security situation in the airport is annoying setting of the alarm with my new knee, but that's a small price to pay for feeling normal again. The one funny thing about the metal they use for the new knee is when at Disney and going through their metal detectors, they refer to it as your DisKnee ....
- Carol Dancy
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

May 10, 2018

Thank you for the wonderful note Carol!

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