What does Total Knee Replacement involve?
This is a major operation. It involves you having an anaesthetic, either a general anaesthetic when you will be completely unconscious, or a spinal anaesthetic where you will be made numb from the waist down, with some sedation so you are not aware of what is happening. Your anaesthetist will discuss this further when you come in.
A cut about 8 inches long is made over the front of your knee, the kneecap is flipped over, and the knee joint opened up. The worn, damaged cartilage surfaces at the end of the thigh bone and the top of the shin are cut away, and replaced with metal components which are cemented into place. A plastic bearing is fitted between these parts. If the kneecap is significantly worn out the damaged cartilage isremoved and replaced with a highly engineered polyethylene button, which is cemented in place. The kneecap is then flipped right side up, and the joint closed.
What’s the recovery time?
We aim to get you taking the first few steps on your new knee on the day of surgery. This is then followed by supervised physiotherapy as an inpatient that will teach you how to look after your new knee. You’ll normally stay in hospital for 3 to 5 days and will walk with crutches for the first few weeks. The knee will feel stiff and sore for at least 6 weeks and thereafter there is gradual improvement all the way out to a year post-operatively.
What are the benefits?
Total knee replacement is excellent at relieving pain and stiffness due to knee arthritis and is one of the leading operations in terms of patient improvement. The first few weeks can be tough, but as the knee recovers from surgery most patients become pain free with very much improved mobility.
Please see an animation of knee replacement surgery below :