Now that total knee replacements have been around for a while, what are the results for most patients? I've waited an extra 10 years thinking the operation would be improved quite a bit by now.

Most patients with knee arthritis go into this type of operation with one thing in mind: pain relief. They usually want improved function, too. Studies show relief of pain and other symptoms from arthritis is achieved with total knee replacement (TKR). There's a high rate of satisfaction on the part of most patients.

The down side of this operation has also been reported. Muscle weakness is present in one-third of all TKR patients. They move and walk slower than they used to, especially on stairs. Quality of life after TKR is improved, but it's less than adults the same age who don't have a TKR.

The operation itself is less invasive with fewer complications. Recovery and release from the hospital or surgical center is also faster these days. In some cases, that means lower costs. The improved technology has raised costs so much, sometimes the price tag is just as high, if not higher, even with less time in the hospital.