Deciding to have a knee replacement
What is a total knee replacement?
Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure where the worn out surfaces of the knee are resurfaced with metal and plastic components.
Over time, cartilage that cushions the bones can wear away, cause pain and discomfort, and make simple activities like walking difficult or even unbearable.
A knee replacement can reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and restore independence.
How the operation is done
A knee replacement is a major operation and usually takes approximately two hours.
During a total knee replacement operation
- The worn surfaces at the bottom end of the thigh bone (femur) and the top end of the shin bone (tibia) are removed.
- The surfaces are covered with metal implants fixed in place with bone cement.
- A smooth plastic insert is fixed to the top of the tibial implant. This ensures that the two surfaces glide smoothly together.
- Sometimes the underside of the knee cap (patella) is also re-surfaced with plastic.
- The layers of soft tissue, muscle and skin are repaired and stitched back together.
Who should get a knee replacement?
Knee replacement surgery may be considered for individuals suffering from arthritic knee pain that severely limits daily activities. It is only recommended after careful examination and diagnosis of your particular joint problem, and only after more conservative measures such as exercise and physiotherapy have proven ineffective.
How long will I spend in hospital?
With improvements in surgical techniques and post-operative care, it is now common for patients to be able to go home quite quickly. At The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, we aim to support the majority of patients to go home within 48 hours (post surgery).
How successful is knee replacement?
Knee replacement is recognised as one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In England and Wales over 160,000 people have their knees or hips replaced each year.
What is the recovery period like?
Recovery can vary from person to person, but most people will need to use a walking aid for a few weeks after their surgery. More active pursuits can be resumed in as few as 10 to 12 weeks. Your surgeon can advise you on specific questions about recovery.
How painful is the surgery?
You will experience some discomfort after surgery, but be assured we will do everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible.
Pain after knee replacement surgery varies from person to person but modern medications and improved anesthetic techniques greatly enhance our ability to control pain and discomfort after surgery.
What are the risks?
Knee replacement is a common surgery and in the majority of cases there are no complications. However, it is a major surgery and like any major surgery there are some risks to consider:
- Blood clots
- Implant loosening
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Knee stiffness
Your surgeon and healthcare team will take great care to minimise the risk of these and other complications. Keep in mind that complications are rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions.
Of course every patient is different, but we aim to help you recover quickly and regain your independence as quickly and efficiently as possible.
JointCare: don’t put up with pain
JointCare at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital is a modern knee and hip replacement service for NHS patients.
This is modern joint replacement
JointCare brings together a team of experienced and highly skilled surgeons with an amazing care team. Our goal is to provide seamless, efficient care and have you healthy and doing the things you enjoy as quickly as possible.
We have designed a specific and tailored service to care for knee replacement patients. No hospital gowns and long hours in bed; this is all about wellness and recovery.
We aim for most routine JointCare patients to go home after their knee replacement within 48 hours (post surgery). You can expect to recover more quickly and experience the amazing care and health outcomes that The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital is known for. About 90% of people having a knee replacement rate the result themselves
as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.
Find out how we can help
We’re ready to care for you. Speak with your GP about a referral to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. You can choose the hospital for your knee replacement; we are an excellent choice.
Call 0121 685 4000 to find out more.