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“Cementing” and Knee Replacement Surgery

More than 580,000 knee replacement surgeries—the vast majority of them successful—are performed in the United States each year. In this procedure, special acrylic bone cement is often employed to adhere the new artificial knee parts to your leg bones. Its technical name is polymethylmethacrylate, or PMMA.

What is PMMA?

In some situations, the surgeon can allow the natural bone that surrounds the artificial joint to grow into and around the replacement parts, a process that serves to “cement” them in place, but it takes time for this to happen. More commonly, especially in patients whose outcomes are predicted to be free of complications, the surgeon opts to use PMMA, a space-filling, load-transferring substance that helps evenly distribute weight on the joint.


Because one of the major benefits of using PMMA is that it allows the patient to immediately bear weight on the joint, rehabilitation can begin right away. Bending the knee can begin the day after—or even the day of—surgery, depending on the surgeon’s evaluation. The day after surgery, a hospital staff physical therapist will help the patient stand and take several steps with a walker, progressing eventually to crutches, then to a cane.
After the patient comes home, we can design and implement an ongoing rehabilitation program to continue to increase knee joint function and range of motion.
Typically, patients who have had knee replacements and who have followed an exercise regimen can walk as much as they like by six weeks after surgery, and they can drive at that point, too. Patients can play golf and swim at the eight-week mark and play tennis after 12 weeks.

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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