Total Knee Replacement is a surgical procedure in which the knee joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant.
Knee replacement becomes necessary when pain and deformity occur in the knee joint due to a variety of reasons, the most common of which is osteoarthritis.
Untreated arthritis of the knee joint is progressive but surgery is not recommended until symptoms interfere with daily activities or where pain occurs at rest or is associated with instability.
Knee replacement is now commonplace and in most instances patients are able to get back to almost all of their pre-arthritis activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fit, motivated patients consistently seem to do well.
Continue to exercise.
Lose weight if you need to. If you have type II diabetes, your diabetic control will be improved by weight loss. You will be given an individual guide to help you.
Stop smoking. Almost every risk is magnified if you smoke.
The surgery is done to reduce pain and improve movement and it is our job to minimise post operative pain.
With a spinal anaesthetic and the use of local anaesthetic there is usually no pain on waking post surgery. This allows you and the nursing staff to be on top of the pain when the anaesthetic wears off.
Early movement is encouraged. It is important to move your feet up and down to promote blood flow and prevent a blood clot.
All going well, you will be up and walking the next morning. If necessary, you can stand soon after surgery, for example to pass urine. A catheter is occasionally required.
It is important to move the knee early to regain movement. Swelling limits movement in the first few days but it is usually possible to get 90 degrees of flexion within the first week. Sitting out of bed with the knee bent for a few hours a day helps. You will also be guided by the physiotherapist.
Current research suggests that using modern components, fewer and fewer components will need revision because of wear and the majority of knee replacements will continue to function well for 20 years and longer.
The incision has become shorter in the last 10 years to 'respect' the quadriceps muscle, but good exposure is essential to allow use of computer assistance and good visualisation of every part of the knee joint.
Yes. Usually metal detectors will be set off by your new knee. Just make sure you have nothing in your pockets on that side.
It is usually possible to return to pre operative activities somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks after surgery. Start slowly and be cautious. Ask specifically regarding activities such as snow skiing, bike or horse riding and running.