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Knee revision is a follow-up appointment for people who have had partial or total knee replacement surgery and need their prosthetics replacing.

Why do I need revision knee surgery?

The clear sign for knee revision is pain because all or part of the prosthetics has worn away. Other reasons for knee replacement surgery include having one or more of the following conditions:

  • Instability in the knee joint
  • Loosening of the artificial components
  • Infection in the knee
  • Trauma to the knee joint
  • Weakening of the bone around the knee replacement
  • Stiffness in the knee
  • Discrepancy in leg lengths
Knee revision is performed under general anaesthesia

About the procedure

The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and involves an incision being made over the knee to expose the knee joint, similar to total knee replacement. The joint is checked over for any damage and the damaged components are removed and replaced. If there is any bone loss, a metal wedge or bone graft may be used to make up for the lost bone.

Risks of knee revision

Like other knee procedures, there are certain risks and complications involved with knee revision. Before a surgeon carries out any work, you should have all the risks explained to you and should be asked to sign a consent form. Possible complications that could occur after revision knee surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Knee stiffness
  • Infection
  • Blood clots in the leg
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Dislocation of the kneecap

Recovery

Following knee revision surgery, you may be required to wear a continuous passive motion machine. The device moves the knee joint slowly through a range of motions while you relax to reduce stiffness and swelling.

For the first few days or weeks, you may be required to walk with crutches or a walker. You will attend rehabilitation appointments where a physiotherapist will teach you exercises designed specifically to strengthen the knee and leg. You will also be taught exercises suitable to do while you are at home.

Knee immobilisers may also be used to keep the knee stable during exercise, walking and while sleeping.

If you suffer from further pain or are concerned about your knee joint, make sure to book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible.

A physiotherapist will teach you exercises designed specifically to strengthen the knee and leg
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