The invention is a method for performing a minimally invasive knee arthroplasty and components for this procedure. The method involves creating an incision along the medial or lateral aspect of a patient's knee, exposing the knee joint, resecting the distal end of the femur, the proximal end of the tibia and the posterior patella through the medial or lateral incision, and connecting a femoral, tibial and patellar knee replacement component through the incision. Components include specialized femoral, tibial and patellar cutting guides for use in resecting the femur, tibia and patella through the medial or lateral incision. In one embodiment, the method is performed with the aid of an image guidance system. In another embodiment, the method is performed with instruments which align the components, such as the cutting guides, without the use of an image guidance system.