Total knee replacement

What is arthritis?

Total knee replacement is for knees damaged by arthritis. Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause damage to one or more joints.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, where there is gradual wear and tear of a joint. Some other types of arthritis are associated with inflammation of the joints.

Arthritis eventually wears away the normal cartilage covering the surface of the joint and the bone underneath becomes damaged. This causes pain and stiffness in the joint.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Total knee replacement surgery should reduce pain and enable you to walk more easily.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can help control the pain. Supplements to your diet may also help relieve your symptoms. Check with your doctor before you take supplements.

Using a walking stick can make walking easier. Wearing an elasticated support on your knee can help it feel stronger.

Regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness in your knee.

A steroid injection into your knee joint can sometimes reduce pain and stiffness.

All these measures become less effective if your arthritis gets worse.

Total knee replacement diagram

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut on the front of your knee and remove the damaged joint surfaces. They will replace these with an artificial knee joint made of metal, plastic or ceramic, or a combination of these materials (see figure 1).

Your knee replacement is fixed to the bone using acrylic cement or special coatings on your knee replacement that bond directly to the bone.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Chest infection
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

 

Specific complications

  • Split in the bone when your knee replacement is inserted
  • Damage to nerves
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Damage to ligaments or tendons
  • Infection in your knee
  • Loosening
  • Dislocation
  • Continued discomfort in your knee
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your knee (complex regional pain syndrome)

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home after 3 to 7 days.

You will need to use crutches or walking sticks for a few weeks.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery, have less pain and can move about better. An artificial knee never feels quite the same as a normal knee. Kneeling down is not recommended and is usually uncomfortable.

A knee replacement can wear out with time.

Summary

If you have severe pain, stiffness and disability, a knee replacement should reduce your pain and help you to walk more easily.

Self-pay guide price

From £10,550

 

Self-pay package details

Total knee replacement is performed at The Foscote Hospital by

  • Mr Luc Boizot

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Dip MP, Dip Orthopaedic Surgery

    Learn more
  • Professor Max Gibbons

    Prof Max Gibbons

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MBBS MA FRCS

    Learn more
  • Mr Geza Kordas

    Mr Geza Kordas

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MD PhD

    Learn more
  • mr james owen orthopaedics

    Mr James Owen

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MA MB BChir FRCS

    Learn more
  • Mr Bijan Shafighian

    Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

    MD FRCS Royal College of Surgeons

    Learn more

Acknowledgements

Author: Mr Stephen Milner DM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

This page is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Copyright © 2018 EIDO Healthcare Limited. The operation and treatment information on this website is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and used under licence by The Foscote Hospital. The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use.