Using a combination of metal and plastic, artificial knees replace the three critical portions of the human knee: the top of the tibia or lower leg bone; the patella or kneecap; and the femoral condyles, which are the knuckle-like protuberances at the bottom end of the femur or thighbone. Surgeons either cement the components into place or allow the patient's bone to grow into a fine mesh on the surface of the parts. Also, several companies are working to grow cartilage for replacing the meniscus, the fibrous cartilage between the thigh and shin bones. (4, 11)

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