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Knee Replacement Surgery

July 17, 2020 - By Robert Lolley, MD

Robert Dean LolleyIn 1968, the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, the first Hot Wheels toy car made its debut, and Richard Nixon was elected President of the U.S. It was also the year that the first knee replacement surgery was performed. Today, more than 600,000 total knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year to help relieve pain and decrease disability in people with knee problems.

The knee joint, one of the largest in the body, can wear out for numerous reasons, such as inflammation caused by arthritis, injury or everyday wear and tear. Knee replacement surgery may be recommended if pain limits activities; chronic inflammation in the knee does not improve with medication; the knee is stiff or deformed; or there is moderate to severe pain that occurs during rest. Most patients who undergo knee replacement surgery are over the age of 50. However, the procedure may be beneficial to patients of all ages depending on the individual’s levels of pain and disability.

A complete medical history will be taken prior to surgery and a physical examination will be completed to assess the range of motion, stability, and strength in the knee. X-rays may also be done to evaluate the extent of knee damage.

The majority of knee replacement procedures last approximately 60 to 90 minutes and require some form of anesthesia, either general or spinal. During this time, the surgeon will make an incision that is eight to 12 inches long in the knee area, move the kneecap aside, remove the damaged cartilage and then insert the new metal and plastic knee joint.

After spending a short time in a recovery room, knee replacement surgery patients are moved to a hospital room where they will generally stay for one to two days before being discharged. During the hospital stay, blood thinners, support hose and compression boots (inflatable leg coverings) may be used to help prevent blood clots and decrease swelling.

Knee replacement surgery patients can usually resume normal daily activities after about 12 weeks. Low-impact activities are encouraged after recovery, such as walking, swimming, biking or playing golf. However, physicians advise against jogging, running and participation in other high-impact activities after surgery.

Robert Lolley, MD practices orthopedic surgery with Precision Sports Medicine and Orthopedics in the Hoover and Hueytown clinics. To set up an appointment for your patient, call 205-380-9761.

-- Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics to Meet Growing Needs in Region --

precision Sports and Ortho logo

Birmingham, Alabama: Committed to investing in accessible quality care for its community, Brookwood Baptist Health is proud to announce the formation of its sports medicine and orthopedic practice, Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics will serve the growing needs of central Alabama’s patients and athletes, providing expertise and multidisciplinary sports medicine and orthopedic care.

“Brookwood Baptist Health is firmly committed to staying on the forefront of innovation and quality, and providing value to our patients and their families,” says Robert Branstetter, CEO of Brookwood Baptist Health Primary & Specialty Care Network. “We are proud to extend our long legacy in orthopedics to now include a sports medicine and orthopedic practice led by some of the top specialists in the state.” Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics provides the expertise and treatment of sports related injuries, work-related musculoskeletal injuries, pediatric injuries, general orthopedics, adult reconstruction and arthritis, hand and wrist, total joint replacement, and minimally invasive procedures, among other orthopedic-related injuries and conditions.

With 70 years of combined experience treating patients on and off the field, Precision’s founding team of sports medicine specialists and orthopedic surgeons have earned a reputation for excellence and include:

Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics will treat patients throughout central Alabama. Their four primary facilities currently open are located in Alabaster, Vestavia, West Birmingham, and Chelsea. All of Precision’s offices will be located near Brookwood Baptist Health’s hospitals and surgical facilities; ensuring patients have convenient access to the comprehensive care they need.

“We are all excited about the forming of Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics,” said Dr. Robert Agee. “All of our physicians and staff have the same goal in mind, which is delivering the best patient care possible. This synergy, our thorough knowledge of sports and orthopedic medicine, our commitment to engaging with the latest advancements in the field, and our access to leading-edge technology, will allow us to offer the best possible care to our patients.”

“Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics represents a group of fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians who put patient care at the forefront of their practice. I am excited about the opportunity to continue delivering cutting edge sports medicine and orthopedic care to my patients, and expand that care throughout central Alabama and beyond with our partner Brookwood Baptist Health,” said Dr. Mike Patterson.

Dr. John Young stated, “I have been practicing orthopedic surgery at Brookwood for almost 15 years. My goal is to provide the best and most compassionate orthopedic care to my patients, and I am excited to work alongside a group of physicians who I have respectfully worked with over the years and who share that philosophy. Precision Sports Medicine & Orthopedics will allow us to better serve patients and offer them more availability“.

About Brookwood Baptist Health
With roots extending more than 90 years, Brookwood Baptist Health includes trusted providers from the former Brookwood Medical Center and Baptist Health System and is operated by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. Representing the largest healthcare network in Central Alabama, the network’s community of care is comprised of five acute care hospitals with more than 1,700 licensed beds: Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Walker Baptist Medical Center and Citizens Baptist Medical Center. Brookwood Baptist Health also provides patients with the largest primary care network in the state, along with physician practices, diagnostic and outpatient surgery centers and a freestanding emergency department. Brookwood Baptist Health is united in service and devotion to the people of Central Alabama and dedicated to putting people back at the center of healthcare. For more information, please visit

Common Knee Injuries

While sports and recreational activities can cause a number of knee problems, some injuries result from basic wear and tear or from simply getting up from a chair. Knee problems are so common that it affects people of all ages, disrupting lives and sending thousands of people to the doctor's office every year. Knee injuries can often be treated with physical therapy or weight loss but some are serious enough to need surgical procedures.

Minimize your risks by knowing some of the most common knee injuries and what causes them.

1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
The ACL is a tough, flexible band of tissues that runs through the middle of the knee joint. An ACL injury occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament is torn or overstretched. Women are about two to eight times more prone to ACL injuries than men. There are increased cases of ACL injuries among teenagers involved in organized sports and recreational activities. The number one indication of an ACL injury is a popping noise combined with pain and swelling. Symptoms also include grinding sensations of your bones and kneecap and not being able to put weight on your affected leg. Partial tears can be treated at home or with over-the-counter medicine. Other options include bracing and physical therapy but reconstruction surgery may be the best option for some complete ACL tears.

2. Baker’s Cyst
Having arthritis and a cartilage tear can cause your knee to develop too much fluid leading to a Baker’s cyst. The fluid-filled cyst causes a bulge and a feeling of tightness behind your knee causing swelling, knee pain, stiffness and inability to fully flex the knee. These symptoms may worsen after you’ve been standing for a long time. In some cases, a Baker’s cyst causes no pain at all. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen may be taken to reduce swelling and pain while a combination of rest, elevation, and prescription painkillers is often the recommended treatment for ruptured cysts. Draining and surgically removing a Baker's cyst can be challenging because they do not have a lining and are made of jelly.

3. Meniscus Injury
People with meniscus injury experience pain particularly when the knee is straightened. This is because the meniscus is a piece of cartilage that acts like a pad between your femur or thigh bone and tibia or shin bone. It can easily be injured when the knee is twisted while bearing weight. Other symptoms include swelling, clicking sound in the knee, locking of the knee joint, and weakness around the knee area. Arthroscopic surgery may be required if your knee does not respond well to physical therapy and medication.

4. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Injury
Signs and symptoms of a PCL injury include pain in the knee that causes a slight limp or difficulty walking, swelling of the knees within hours of the injury and a general feeling of your knees feeling loose. PCL injuries are most common during motor vehicle accidents and contact sports. Initial treatment for PCL injuries require rest, elevation and medication. Further treatment may be needed depending on the severity of the injury including intense rehabilitation program or reconstructive surgery using either a piece of your own tissue or a piece of donor tissue.

5. Osteochondritis Dissecans
This condition results when the part of the bone under a joint surface does not have enough blood supply. This causes the bone and cartilage to loosen and break off at times. Symptoms include a sharp pain if the cartilage breaks off, weakness and locking knee joints. A person suffering from Osteochondritis Dissecans may develop osteoarthritis. Treatment includes rest, avoiding any movement that causes pain and other intense activities and physical therapy. Surgical intervention may be needed if there are no signs of improvement, if a piece of the bone breaks away completely, or if there is an underlying condition that causes osteochondritis dissecans such as bow legs or knock knees.


  • Medline
  • National Institutes of Health
  • KidsHealth
  • Healthline


Affiliated with Brookwood Baptist Health Primary and Specialty Care Network