Knee Replacement Surgery

What is a knee replacement?

Knee replacement or knee arthroplasty is one of the most common surgeries performed in the UK. It is a surgery undertaken to replace a worn-out arthritic or injured knee using an artificial knee joint, in order to reduce pain and improve mobility within the knee.

There are two main types of knee replacement surgeries which can be performed. After taking a clinical history and examination, Mr Krkovic will assess and determine which you will be most suitable for. The two types of knee replacements include:

Total knee replacement:

  • Also known as total knee arthroplasty.
  • This is where the entire knee is replaced. It is most suitable for patients who have extensive arthritis throughout the knee.

Partial knee replacement:

  • Also known as unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.
  • This is when only a part of the knee is replaced. It is most suitable for patients who have limited arthritis in one compartment of the knee.

How is a knee replacement carried out?

Knee replacement surgery is usually performed either under general anaesthetic (you're asleep throughout the procedure) or under spinal anaesthetic or with an epidural (you're awake but have no feeling from the waist down).

During the surgery, an incision is made down the front of the knee and your knee cap is moved over to the side. Then the worn out ends of the bones are removed and replaced with a prosthetic (usually with metal and plastic components). The skin is then sutured back together at the end of the surgery.

Who needs a knee replacement?

Most commonly patients who have osteoarthritis which has not responded to non-surgical treatments such as painkillers, steroid injections and physiotherapy. In addition, patients who have had injuries to the knee may require knee replacements due to impairment in their mobility and severe pain.

How long does a knee replacement last for?

Replaced knees will typically last between 10 and 20 years.

How long will I be off work after a knee replacement surgery?

The time you will need to be off work can vary from patient to patient. It depends on a number of factors including how healthy you are, how you respond to the knee surgery, how well you heal after the surgery, what type of job you do and more.

If you have a relatively less physically intensive job (e.g. desk working), you can expect to be at work typically 6 - 8 weeks after the surgery. If your job is more physically intensive, you may be off work for 12 weeks after a knee replacement surgery.

We recommend that patients who undergo knee replacement surgery attempt to return to their normal routines as soon as possible, in order to speed up recovery.

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