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It’s common to hear people talk about needing a knee replacement. But did you know that’s not the only surgery that can help your constant, nagging pain?

Chronic (ongoing) knee conditions can slow you down. They may keep you from walking around the block, gardening or even getting in and out of the car. And they might even keep you glued to the couch because it’s too painful to stand up. But knee pain that doesn’t go away doesn’t always mean you need a new knee.

Replacement surgery isn’t always the first step. Cleveland Clinic’s expert orthopaedic providers offer many other knee surgery options to repair joint damage. This includes minimally invasive procedures that can reduce post-surgery pain — and recovery time. We’re here to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Knee Surgery?

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Caring approach:

We know it can be frustrating to live with knee pain. We ask you to tell us about your symptoms and how they affect your life. Understanding this is important to helping us build a treatment plan based on your needs and goals.

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Trusted experts:

Cleveland Clinic’s board-certified orthopaedic surgeons specialize in knee joint surgery. They do thousands of repairs to damaged knees each year with the help of other skilled healthcare providers on their team. Meet our team.

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Skilled collaborative providers:

Our team-based approach to care means you’ll have providers from different specialties confirming your diagnosis and building a personalized surgery and recovery plan. We stay by your side with guidance and support every step of the way, so you can get the best possible long-term results.

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Minimally invasive options:

We offer a wide range of every type of effective knee surgery available. And we try to use minimally invasive procedures when possible to reduce pain and help you recover faster.

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Virtual visits:

Not all appointments need to be in person. Virtual visits let you meet one-on-one with your providers online. You can ask questions and talk with them about your progress and concerns from the comfort of your home as you recover. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet or computer.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized in the U.S. and throughout the world for our expertise and care.

Knee Surgery Consultation at Cleveland Clinic

There are many reasons why you may need to get knee surgery — ranging from damage caused by an injury to wear and tear from arthritis. Common culprits of knee pain and instability that may need surgery include:

What to expect at your first visit

At your first appointment, your provider will want to hear how your knee pain affects your life. They’ll ask how long you’ve had symptoms and if they’ve gotten worse. Knowing this helps us confirm a diagnosis and decide if surgery is the best treatment for your knee pain.

During this visit, your provider will do a physical exam and check out your knee. They’ll look to see how well it moves in different directions (range of motion). And they’ll press on certain areas to see if you have pain, taking note of where you do.

Preparing for surgery

Before we schedule surgery, you’ll get orders for different tests so we can take a better look at your knee and make sure you’re healthy enough for surgery. You may have:

If you have overweight or obesity, or you smoke, you may need to address these things before surgery. We also offer support for weight loss and smoking cessation. And, after considering your overall health and knee pain, your care team may recommend physical therapy before surgery to improve knee strength and flexibility. All this preparation can help improve surgery results.

Meet Our Knee Surgery Team

Our skilled orthopaedists lead your diagnosis, knee surgery, recovery and follow-up care. But, depending on your needs — and the reason behind your knee pain — your team may also have:


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio, Florida and London.

Having Knee Surgery at Cleveland Clinic

No two injuries feel the same. So, we make sure your surgery and recovery plan are unique to your knee pain and recovery goals. Your care team works with you to find the best type of surgery for your needs.

Minimally invasive knee surgery

Knee arthroscopy is a procedure that lets us look inside your knee joint using tiny tools and a camera. We use arthroscopy to diagnose and treat many knee conditions, including soft tissue (ligament) injuries, like ACL tears, meniscus tears and bursitis, bone fractures (breaks) and joint inflammation. Using arthroscopy, we can remove inflamed tissues, bone fragments and damaged cartilage. We can also treat knee infections. 

This is a minimally invasive surgery, which means we only need to make keyhole-sized incisions (cuts) rather than large surgical ones. We try to use this procedure as often as possible to help you recover faster and with less pain.

Common surgeries that use arthroscopy include ligament or meniscus surgery to repair a torn tissue or meniscal transplantation to replace a damaged meniscus with healthy donor tissue.

Knee osteotomy

A knee osteotomy cuts bone tissue, and sometimes adds bone tissue, to reshape or realign your bones. It uses metal screws or a special biocomposite material to hold things in place. And it shifts pressure from the damaged part of your knee to an area with cushioning and healthy cartilage. This surgery can help relieve pain and instability in a damaged knee joint. Your healthcare provider may also do this open surgery to fix a broken kneecap (patella) that didn’t heal right. Osteotomy can be an alternative to knee replacement.

Kneecap surgery

You might often think of knee pain coming from a strain or tear in soft tissue like the meniscus or ligaments. But it can also start if you dislocate or fracture your kneecap. Or if your kneecap becomes unstable and doesn’t’ support your leg as it should.

With kneecap surgery, we can repair tissue and bones to fix fractures or put your kneecap back into place. We can make your kneecap more stable by preventing tight, surrounding ligaments from pulling on it. Surgery may be arthroscopic or open like an osteotomy, depending on the type of repair we need to do.

Microfracture surgery

Knee microfracture might sound like an injury. But it’s actually surgery to treat small cartilage damage. Your surgeon will make several small holes in your bone to create an environment that lets your body heal and regenerate tissue.

Managing pain

Are you delaying surgery because you’re worried about pain during and after the operation? We understand. And we’re here to help. Our team focuses on pain management at every step to keep you as comfortable as possible. We’ll go over your options for anesthesia during surgery. And we’ll talk about medications you can use to help with pain and discomfort during recovery.

Recovery and Follow-Up Care

Your treatment for knee pain doesn’t end with surgery. Your care team will help you have long-term success once you’re out of the operating room. Your recovery and rehabilitation plan takes your personal goals into account.

Your recovery time depends on if you had minimally invasive or open surgery. With arthroscopy, you’ll likely leave the hospital the same day. A knee osteotomy will likely keep you in the hospital for a night or two. You may also need to use crutches or a walker for a short time. Full recovery for either type of surgery can take at least several months.

Part of your recovery from knee surgery will include physical therapy. You’ll learn special exercises to help you strengthen your muscles, get your knee moving again and prevent future injuries. And you’ll keep doing these exercises at home between appointments with our expert physical therapists.

Taking the Next Step

Knee pain, stiffness and instability can get in the way of life — and even keep you watching from the sidelines. Knee surgery may be the way to make things better. While you might feel a little nervous about having knee surgery, it’s important to know that today’s options can efficiently and effectively reduce your pain and get you back to doing the things you love. Your Cleveland Clinic care team offers minimally invasive options when possible. And we focus on keeping post-surgery pain to a minimum. Once you’re out of surgery, we do all we can to help you recover as quickly as possible.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s knee surgery experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic’s knee surgery experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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