Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is very common. It involves replacing a damaged or worn knee joint with an artificial joint called a prosthesis.
The knee joint is made up of the lower thigh bone (femur), the upper shin bone (tibia) and the knee cap (patella). Normally the knee allows the thigh and shin bone to slide over each other due to the smooth cartilage which covers them and lines the underside of the kneecap. When cartilage is worn away through wear and tear, injury or arthritis, the joint becomes stiff and can cause pain.
Usually patients will undergo non-invasive treatment before surgery is recommended, this can include pain medication, physiotherapy and steroid injections. However if pain cannot be managed and your lifestyle and movement is impacted beyond what is acceptable, surgery can be the next recommended step. After surgery most patients will see a significant reduction in pain and improved movement.
Types of Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement (TKR) is the most common type, particularly for ages 60 – 80. Your surgeon will replace the surfaces of both the thigh bone and shin bone that connect to the knee.
Partial knee replacement (PKR) replaces only one side of the knee joint. It is a possibility if you have strong knee ligaments and the rest of the cartilage in the knee is in good condition. This is usually more typical for patients under age 65. Partial knee replacement can be carried out through a smaller incision than is needed for total knee replacement and may have a shorter recovery period.
Patellofemoral replacement replaces only the under-surface of the kneecap and the groove the kneecap sits in. This can be very effective for people with chronic kneecap arthritis.
Knee replacement surgery is very successful and over 80% of replacements are still functioning after 25 years. However, particularly if you have severe arthritis, revision knee replacement surgery may be required.
What happens during this procedure?
Knee replacement surgery uses spinal or general anaesthetic. The spinal anaesthetic will block the feeling from your waist down, and you will remain awake during the procedure. If you have a general anaesthetic you will be asleep during the procedure.
During the operation your surgeon will make an incision down the front of your knee. Your kneecap is moved to one side and the worn-down or damaged surfaces from the end of your thigh bone and the top of your shin bone will be removed. These are then reshaped to allow the artificial knee to placed and fitted over both bones. Cement may be used to bond the new joint to your bones. If required, patella resurfacing may be done. This involves changing the back of the knee cap is changed for a plastic button shaped part.
Once everything is in place the incision is closed with stitches or clips and enclosed in a dressing. It will then be tightly bandaged to reduce any swelling.
The operation takes 1-2 hours and is available by leading Orthopaedic consultants at One Hatfield’s private hospital in Hertfordshire.
How long will it take to recover?
Your hospital stay is likely to be 2 to 3 days. A physiotherapist will work with you to get you mobile using a walking frame, moving onto crutches or sticks, to make sure you are fully weight bearing before returning home. You will be given exercises to aid mobility and build strength when you return home.
For the first week you may need to take painkillers to ease pain. To help swelling, keep your leg raised when sitting and apply an ice pack.
Your dressing and stitches will be removed after 1 – 2 weeks.
As with any major surgery, rehabilitation takes time and varies from patient to patient. Some patients will still be using a walking stick after 6 weeks but most are walking well and independently at 12 weeks.
You should be able to start driving and return to work (as long as your job isn’t physically demanding) after 6–8 weeks.
It may take a year to see the full benefit of surgery.
Knee Replacement Surgery Explained
At One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire, we can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic surgeon, usually within 48 hours, for an initial consultation. Due to our location, we are ideally placed to welcome patients living in Hatfield, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, Welwyn, Harpenden, Hertford, Hemel Hempstead, Barnet, Luton, and all areas of Hertfordshire and North London.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Knee Replacement Surgery treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience