Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS)

MIS Joint Replacement offers important advantages, requiring smaller incisions and potentially causing less trauma, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery and less scarring than traditional techniques.

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Partial Knee Resurfacing

Partial knee resurfacing (PKR) is a surgical procedure for relieving arthritis in one compartment of the knee. With PKR, only the damaged surface of the knee joint is replaced, helping to minimize trauma to healthy bone and tissue.

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Rotator Cuff Repair

A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults. A torn rotator cuff will weaken your shoulder. This means that many daily activities, like combing your hair or getting dressed, may become painful and difficult to do.

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Knee Revision Surgery

Knee replacements are among the most successful surgical procedures. In 90% of knee replacement patients, the new knee joint can be expected to function for at least 10 to 20 years. However, as increasing numbers of patients undergo knee replacement at younger ages, many patients outlast their implants and experience wear and tear, requiring a new implant. Also, approximately 10% of knee replacement implants will fail, requiring the implants to be removed and replaced by new implants. This procedure is called knee revision surgery.

Why Would an Implant Fail or Wear Out?

There are several reasons that an implant might fail or wear out, requiring a revision procedure. The implant may loosen as a result of the joint surfaces rubbing together. This friction wears away the surface of the implant, creating tiny particles that accumulate around the joint. The body attempts to digest these particles in a process called aseptic, or noninfected, loosening. This process destroys the bond of the bone to the implant, which loosens the implant. This is the most common reason for knee implant failure.

Because knee implants are made of plastic and metal, bacteria can latch onto the surface of the implant, potentially causing pain, swelling, and drainage. Infection can also cause weakness and even endanger the patient’s life.

Some patient-related factors can also increase the likelihood of implant failure or wearing. Patients who are younger and more active have a higher rate of knee revision surgery than older, less active patients. Patients who are obese; have avascular necrosis or inflammatory arthritis; or have had a previous hip fracture have a higher risk of their implant loosening.

What Happens During Knee Revision Surgery?

During a knee revision procedure, the old implant components are removed using specialized instruments. Depending on the bone quality of the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone), Dr. McLennan may need to use implants with extensions to reach better-quality bone.

The incision may be made at the site of the previous incision, or it may be made in a different location. Often, the incision will be larger than the incision for the original knee replacement, in order to facilitate removal of the old implant. The cement from the previous procedure is removed along with the implant. If there is any scar tissue or abnormal bone, it is also removed to create space for the new implant.

If there is severe damage or bone loss, the revision procedure may require bone grafts, metal plates, cages, or screws to reconstruct the knee bones and create a foundation for the new implant. In some cases, the knee revision implant may be close to the same size as the original implant, but if bone quality is poor, the implants may have extended stems, wedges, or build-ups. Knee revision implants can also work as a substitute for absent or unstable ligaments. In most cases, a knee revision implant will be cemented into place.


After surgery, the reconstructed knee may be placed in a brace or splint to protect the joint. Patients may begin a course of antibiotics prior to surgery that continues into the postoperative period to help prevent infection.

Rehabilitation will begin as soon as possible—often within 24 hours of the procedure. Physical therapy may continue for up to three months following surgery, and focuses on regaining motion in the knee. Patients may need to use a walker, cane, or crutches in the early stages of recovery. Certain activities may be restricted for six to 12 weeks after surgery. With the advances in revision techniques and materials, this procedure allows most patients to remain active for several more years.

Knee Revision Surgery in Palm Desert, CA

Dr. Jon G. McLennan uses state-of-the-art surgical and medical techniques to manage and treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Dr. McLennan is committed to excellent patient care and believes in a close physician-patient relationship. To learn more about knee revision surgery, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. McLennan, contact our office at (760) 771-4900.