What are the common Types of Knee Surgeries?

What are the common Types of Knee Surgeries?

The knee is our most complex joint and the primary method of supporting our weight. It is is prone to many different types of injuries. And several different types of knee surgeries.

Types of knee surgeries

Let's talk about types of knee surgeries. The human knee bears a huge amount of potential stress over a human lifetime. Twisting, turning, and moving all put stress upon the knee. And the knee is the most complex joint we have-- and the primary method of supporting our weight. Thus, the knee is prone to many different types of injuries. And we use several different categories of knee surgeries to fix it!

The knee can be susceptible to a myriad of conditions and injuries. We have the minor annoyances of slight pain. Then we have the surgery-requiring cases of ACL and MCL tears, among others.

Additionally, the knee is also the largest joint in the human body. A procedure to repair said knee will vary based on the extent and nature of the injury.

Let's talk about the most common types of knee surgeries that we see in the operating room.

Here are the most common types of knee surgery:

ACL Reconstruction Knee Surgery


I've referred to this as "the dreaded ACL injury" before on this blog. That's because a torn ACL is one of the most common injuries to the knee faced by athletes, from amateurs on to the pros.

Pretty much everybody is susceptible to ACL injuries. But there is a high focus on the susceptibility of female athletes to knee injuries. And we've found that hyper-lax (loose-jointed) athletes are more apt to have the injury.

I've been Head Physician for the U.S. Women's Alpine Ski Team for the last 20 years. So I'm in a unique position to shed light upon the topic of knee injuries in Female Athletes.

Although this injury can derail athletes in the short-term, its certainly possible to back bounce better than ever from the setback.
— Dr. Sterett

(For more information on ACL tears in female athletes, click here).

How Does a Knee Reconstruction Surgery Work?

To reconstruct the ACL, we use an autograft or an allograft.

What’s the difference? An autograft uses your own tissue. An allograft is taken from a donor. (That’s why it’s also known as a “cadaver graft.”)

An ACL injury can certainly derail athletes in the short-term. It can also be tough on the psyche. For elite athletes, suffering an ACL injury can be a scary reminder of how tenuous sports careers actually are.

But in this day and age, the ACL injury is not the end of the line. It is possible to back bounce better than ever from the setback, as I detail in this article.

Meniscectomy/Arthroscopy Knee Surgery


In this type of knee surgery, our goal is to repair a damaged meniscus. The meniscus  is a particularly important piece of cartilage in the knee. Why? It's the "cushion cartilage" of the knee. When it becomes damaged, the face the risk of arthritis.

Let's talk about repairing the injury. In the most common scenario, we will perform an arthroscopy. This involves making several incisions about the circumference of the knee. We then remove the damaged portions of the meniscus.

Meniscus Transplant Knee Surgery

In this case we replace cartilage from the damaged meniscus with cartilage from a donor. This is ideal when we can't repair the meniscus, but we do have access to donor cartilage. 

other types of knee surgery

Knee Surgery Type - Microfracture Surgery

You may have heard your favorite sports pundits talk about this type of surgery. It's become omnipresent in professional athletics.

A few notable athletes, like Amar'e Stoudemire, have seen promising careers derailed because of micro-fracture injuries. But, much like ACL surgery, advanced techniques have given athletes a better chance of full recovery.

Let's talk logistics. In this type of surgery, we create small holes in the bone. This helps circulate and stimulate cartilage growth. The new cartilage replaces cartilage which is currently damaged. This allows the athlete in question to recover quicker. We want to repair the cartilage damage and get the athlete back playing at a more rapid pace.

Lateral Release Knee Surgery

We perform this surgery to stop kneecap pain from excessive pulling in the outer groove. In a successful lateral release surgery, we realign the kneecap via arthroscopic surgery.

Tendon Repair Knee Surgery

The quadriceps and the patellar tendon are below the knee cap. These tendons may rupture if they suffer a direct impact or if you fall on them. The result is a loss of flexibility and movement in your leg.

Partial Knee Replacement Knee Surgery

We see some patients with osteoarthritis of one part of the knee. In this case, we replace the damaged part of the knee with metal and plastic components.

This procedure is preferable to a full knee replacement. Why?

  • It's less complicated

  • It requires less recovery time

  • We keep some of the "natural" feel of the knee.

Before you proceed with a total knee replacement, ask your doc whether a partial is right for you. 

total  Knee Replacement Knee Surgery


A full knee replacement is just what it sounds like- we fully replace the knee joint.

This procedure is for people with severe osteoarthritis. If you have no other options and the injury is severely limiting your level of activity, we will opt for the total knee replacement.   For more information on the Total Knee Replacement, click here.

Here's a video on the topic of total knee replacements. 

Specific Advice on Different Types of Knee Surgeries

To find out more about specific types of knee surgeries, browse this blog. 

Good luck!

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