Knee Replacement Surgery
A knee replacement is considered as an option if physiotherapy or other non-invasive treatments have not improved the symptoms of a patient’s suffering. If a person is unable to walk or perform everyday tasks, surgery is considered as an option to improve that person’s quality of life.
It’s a very common and successful procedure, with over 100,000 replacement surgeries performed each year in the UK alone, with nearly 100% of patients reporting long-term pain relief post-procedure.
If you think you may need a knee replacement, call and book an appointment with our specialist on 01843 234 555.
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Knee replacement surgery involves the removal of an existing knee joint and replacing it with an artificial one. This surgery can be required for several reasons, but the most common is to relieve knee pain caused by arthritis. However, it can also be carried out in cases of gout or knee injury. A high percentage of knee replacements are given to those aged 65 or over.
A knee replacement operation can involve either partial or total replacement.
Arthritis causes the hard cartilage between your knee, thigh and shin bones to become thin, eventually wearing away. This causes the bones to rub directly against each other, causing pain and stiffness. A knee replacement removes any remaining cartilage, as well as the worn bone ends, and substitutes them with metal and plastic parts, thereby creating an artificial joint.
This decision will ultimately be reached only if a specialist decides that it’s the best course of action, but generally Knee Replacement Surgery can be used to help people who are suffering from a severe or debilitating form of arthritis but can also be utilised as a treatment for gout or knee injury. However, the decision to entirely replace a knee will only usually be attempted if other treatments – such as drug treatments, physiotherapy or weight loss – fail.
Unfortunately, some people are simply unable to have Knee Replacement Surgery carried out, even in extreme cases of arthritis. This includes people who:
- Suffer from very weak thigh muscles (quadriceps), as this may impede the ability to cope and support the replacement knee joint
- Are particularly susceptible to infection from surgery, due to deep or abundant sores/ulcers in the skin below or around the knee
Our specialists will make sure you’re aware of costs and consult with you regarding finance options, but don’t be afraid to get in touch with our team if you have any questions.
In most cases, no, there is no exceptional need for preparing for knee replacement surgery in regards to the procedure itself. Any requirements or advice will be given during discussions with your surgeon beforehand.
In cases of a partial knee replacement, recovery times can be quicker and a stay in hospital shorter. However, if the total knee is replaced it can mean that the results of surgery last longer.
Recovery time is of course different for each patient; however, most patients should be able to walk freely and participate in normal daily activities again after about six weeks, dependent on a successful assessment with your surgeon or specialist. During those six weeks, it is absolutely vital that patients give themselves time to fully recover and let their knee heal, as well as actively taking part in the physiotherapy sessions that Spencer will arrange with you.
During recovery time, most patients will require use of a walking aid, but again this is dependent on your own situation. You will be able to consult with your specialist during this time for encouragement, help and advice.
As the knee is such a heavily used part of our bodies, wear-and-tear does occur even on sophisticated knee replacements. About 5% of knee-replacement patients will require further surgery after a period of 2 years, however this can vary. Total knee replacements generally last longer than partials, but your specialist will keep you informed about your specific situation as much as they can.
While you will be under anaesthetics during the procedure itself, like any surgery, there will be a chance of a lasting ache and pain, although patients should have their pain relieved by post-surgery treatments and medication. Our specialists will ensure you are given medication to meet your pain levels, and this will be part of an ongoing discussion with you upon discharge from one of our hospitals to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
There may be some lasting prominent scarring, numbness or the need for antibiotics, but with our specialist consultation and surgery, we mitigate the risks of additional surgeries or special treatment post-initial-surgery. We take the extra time and care to make sure we understand exactly what is required for your procedure before moving forward at each stage, thereby ensuring you have a high chance of a healthy recovery through post-treatment physiotherapy and exercise.
Adults of any age can be considered for a knee replacement, although most are carried out on people between the ages of 60 and 80.
A smaller operation called a partial knee replacement tends to be performed on younger people aged between 55 and 64 where the artificial joint is expected to need replacing within 10 years.