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Knee replacement, AP view
Knee replacement, lateral view

Knee Replacement

Knee replacement, or knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability. It is most commonly performed for osteoarthritis and also for other knee diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Knee replacement surgery can be performed as a partial or a total knee replacement. In general, the surgery consists of replacing the diseased or damaged joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.

The operation typically results in substantial postoperative pain, and includes vigorous physical rehabilitation. The initial recovery period may be of 6 weeks or a bit longer and may involve the use of mobility aids (e.g. walking frames, canes, crutches) to enable the patient's return to preoperative mobility.

Following this initial period it is advisable to carry on with the rehabilitation exercises for a minimum of twelve months since it can take up to one year or even longer for the new knee to reach its full potential after the operation.

The most frequent complications of knee replacement are infection of the joint, which occurs in less that 1% of patients, and deep vein thrombosis that occurs in up to 15% of patients, and is symptomatic in 2–3%.

Other complications include nerve injuries and persistent pain or stiffness that occurs in 8–23% of patients. Prosthesis failure occurs in approximately 2% of patients at 5 years.

Obesity results in increased risk in complications when going through total knee replacement. The morbidly obese should lose weight before surgery and, if medically eligible, would probably benefit from bariatric surgery.

The current variety of total and partial knee replacement designs available mean that an experienced surgeon should be able to come out with a bespoke plan for any given patient that better meets his/ her needs on the basis of extent of the disease, age, gender, level of activity and expectations.

When choosing a surgeon the prospective patient should stay away from sensationalist front pages on tabloids that are of questionable reliability and often driven by financial interest from manufacturers, private healthcare organizations or individual surgeons.

Any patient looking for a knee surgeon in England should take advantage of the information available from the National Joint Registry that gets published on line on a yearly basis under the heading “NJR surgeon and hospital profile” that is readily accessible by the members of the public. Read More Here

Warwickshire Hip & Knee Clinic | P.O. BOX 6114 | Coventry | West Midlands CV3 9GR | Tel: 024 7661 2681 |