© 2018 OA Knee Pain. All Rights Reserved.

Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is an operation that involves replacing a damaged knee with an artificial one. Anyone can be considered for the procedure, but most patients are aged between 60 and 80 years old.

A replacement knee usually lasts over 20 years if cared for properly and doesn’t have too much strain placed on it.

Why is Total Knee Replacement used?

A full knee replacement is usually necessary when the knee joint has worn away or has been so badly damaged that it affects your life by:

  • Restricting your movement
  • Leaving you experiencing pain regularly
  • Making everyday tasks difficult
  • Affecting your mood
  • Leaving you unable to work

The procedure is usually only recommended when other treatments haven’t helped, as it is a major operation and you must be able to cope with going through the procedure and the rehabilitation afterwards.

Total Knee Replacement - Knee Surgery - OA Knee Pain Diagram depicting a total knee replacement

About the procedure

Knee replacement surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic, spinal anaesthetic or an epidural. The surgeon makes a cut down the front of the knee, exposing the kneecap. Moving this aside to access the joint, the damaged parts of the bones are removed and replaced with prosthetic components, including an artificial joint. The back of the kneecap may also be replaced, depending on the reasons for the surgery.

The procedure is likely to take three hours.

Advantages of total knee replacement

Due to the knee replacement usually lasting between 15 and 20 years, there should be no need for a revisory appointment unlike after other knee operations.

Total Knee Replacement - Knee Replacement Operation - OA Knee Pain X-ray of a total knee replacement

Risks of total knee replacement

Knee replacement surgery is a pretty straightforward operation and there are usually no complications. However, like most operations, there are certain risks, including infection, bleeding, swelling, stiffness and damage to either ligaments, nerves or arteries.

If the new knee joint isn’t stable, further surgery may be required to rectify it. However, this is only in rare cases.

Recovery

After the operation, you may be required to use a walking frame or crutches and need assistance with certain activities. However, after a week, most people are likely to be able to walk independently with crutches. You will also be visited by a physiotherapist who will teach you exercises to strengthen the knee and encourage mobility.

In some cases, extra help may be needed in the form of a passive motion machine, which slowly moves your knee while you are in bed. When resting it is advised to keep your leg raised to reduce swelling and improve circulation.

You will usually be discharged from hospital between three and five days, depending on how your recovery is going. Once at home, don’t be surprised if you feel extremely tired. To ensure the best recovery possible, ensure you follow the advice provided by the surgical team and the physiotherapist. You may also want to ask someone to stay with you for a week or two or, at most, check in daily to see how you are.

Six weeks after your operation, you should be able to stop using your crutches or walking frame and participate in your everyday activities again. However, it can take up to three months for the pain to settle and up to a year before swelling in the leg goes down. You should make a full recovery (i.e. your scar tissue has healed and your muscles have restored) after two years, however, it is not advised to take part in any rigorous activities that could damage your knee after this time.

If symptoms return, or you’re concerned about how your recovery is going, you should make an appointment with your GP.

Total Knee Replacement - Knee Replacement Recovery Time - OA Knee Pain You may be required to use a walking frame or crutches and need assistance with certain activities
How would you rate the information on this page? (Your feedback is greatly appreciated)

Sign up to the OA Knee Pain newsletter

OA Knee Pain Social Board

Bringing you the latest news, research and treatment breakthroughs from the world of osteoarthritis

Visit our blog

Filter
  • twitter
  • blog
#

​5 most important questions to ask your doctor about OA


We all experience aches and pains from time to time. Normally this isn’t a problem. However, when pains become regular they become a cause of concern. Recurring pain or discomfort in the joints may be indications of the onset of osteoarthritis – a condition which, as we age, gradually damages the surfaces of the joints so the joint doesn’t move as smoothly.

#

​What are the best sources of vitamin C?


We all require vitamin C to maintain good health, and luckily, it's one of the easier vitamins for us to take in through our diets. Vitamin C is found in a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, meaning even the fussiest eaters should be able to find something to their taste. Vitamin C is beneficial to us in all kinds of ways, including helping to maintain our cartilage and blood vessels. It also helps our bodies create dopamine, ATP, tyrosine and peptide hormones. One of the things vitamin C is perhaps best known for is its antioxidant properties. It actually helps reduce oxidative stress to your body, and is even thought to help lower your risk of cancer. This is a pretty impressive list of benefits for a vitamin often given less attention than many others, in the media and health articles.

#

​What to expect following knee replacement surgery


There are broadly two different types of knee replacement surgery. These are known as partial (sometimes called unilateral) knee replacement, and total or full knee replacement. You may also hear knee replacement being referred to as arthroplasty. Your surgeon will decide which option is best for you depending upon the state of your knee. Partial knee replacement is less invasive and involves less downtime, so if this is a possibility for you, your surgeon will always prefer to choose this option. However, partial knee replacements run a greater risk of the need for revision surgery, so your surgeon will carefully weigh this risk against the short-term benefits.

Treatments for Osteoarthtitis


It has been estimated that the number of people in the UK with osteoarthritis is around 8.75 million with almost half that figure suffering from knee OA. This means that a third of the population aged 45 and older have sought treatment for their condition.

#

What are the long term effects of pharmaceuticals in managing osteoarthritis?


​Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects your joints. It is caused by everyday wear and tear rather than any specific immune condition, but it is still painful and can be debilitating. It is caused when the cartilage that covers and protects the ends of your bones, where they join, becomes roughened and thickened. The bone underneath the cartilage also thickens, as do the ligaments, the synovium (the inner layer of the joint capsule) and the capsule itself. Sometimes extra synovial fluid is produced, which causes the joint to swell.

#

What are the long term effects of having knee replacement surgery?


Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, involves replacing a damaged, diseased or worn knee joint with an artificial joint. It is an increasingly common surgery, with the majority of patients aged between 60 and 80. There are an increasing number of younger patients undergoing this surgical procedure, however, meaning that more and more people are dealing with the long-term effects.

#

What are the top super foods to look out for in 2018?


Superfoods should be incorporated into your daily meals and snacks for optimum results, and should be treated as a regular part of your diet rather than just eaten occasionally when you're on a health kick. All the superfoods in this article are readily available, easy to cook, and complement a number of popular everyday dishes. There's no reason to change your eating habits in order to incorporate superfoods into your diet - most meals can benefit from the addition of one or two of the superfoods from our list.

#

​What are the most popular treatment options for hip osteoarthritis?


Hip osteoarthritis is a condition that results in the degeneration of cartilage in the hip joint area. When cartilage is lost, friction increases and leads to pain and stiffness. The condition is fairly common and affects around 11% or the population over the age of 45. There is a range of treatment options available to sufferers. However, every treatment has its strengths and weaknesses, and these should be considered carefully.

#

​Is surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee becoming less popular?


The pain of osteoarthritis of the knee can be almost unbearable, and as one of the most common forms of joint problems, it affects a huge number of patients every year. Eventually, when the knee joint becomes severely damaged, the only real solution is surgery, but there are plenty of options available to sufferers before reaching that point.