Total Knee Joint Replacement Surgery

The knee joint is prone to wear and tear with age, but especially if you are someone who is very active, involved in contact sports, are heavily overweight or have experienced arthritis in the knee joint.

Knee replacement surgery is fairly common and can provide a life changing experience for those suffering with knee joint pain or restrictive mobility due to injury or disease. There are two main knee replacement procedures: partial knee replacement and total knee replacement. Depending upon the condition of your knee joint, will determine which surgery may best suit your needs. If a total knee replacement is needed, this will involve a Knee Surgeon replacing the damaged or diseased knee with an artificial knee. 

How is a Total Knee Replacement Operation Performed?

If a total knee replacement operation is the most appropriate option then this will require the ends of the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) being removed and replaced with artificial material. Depending upon the condition of the kneecap portion of the knee joint, this may also be replaced just under the kneecap surface as part of the knee reconstruction.

To aid stability, ligaments (posterior cruciate ligament) sit either side of the knee join so that the lower leg cannot slide backward in relation to the thighbone (femur). If a total knee replacement operation is required, then this ligament is either retained or removed and substituted by a polyethylene post.

A total knee replacement operation usually takes between 1 and 2 hours of operative time and requires a general anaesthetic or a spinal block.

Total knee replacement, side view

Recovery from Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Following a total knee replacement operation, you will be taken to recovery and kept in a close observation ward for the first few hours. The average hospital stay following total knee replacement is 4-5 days.

Initially, you will experience pain and discomfort in your knee, but you will be prescribed painkillers to help you through the first few days, after which the pain should ease. It is very important to begin to move around fairly soon after surgery, definitely within 48 hours of total knee replacement surgery and so you will be encouraged to walk using walking aids. 

As part of the rehabilitation and recovery process of a total knee replacement, you will be given physiotherapy exercises to do at home.  It is very important to do the exercises, as these are crucial to you returning to full movement and mobility in the knee joint.  Most people find that they are able to return to work within 6 to 12 weeks after a total knee replacement operation, provided they follow post operative instructions advised by the Knee Surgeon.

As with any artificial joint replacement, there will be restrictions placed upon you so that you protect the joint, but also to ensure that the knee joint has a long life.  Generally, you can expect to get between 10 – 15 years from a knee joint replacement implant. Restrictions may include exclusion of certain sports, maintaining a steady and healthy weight and not lifting heavy weights.

Surgery Consultation Process

As with all surgical procedures, Mr Guido Geutjens, Specialist Knee Surgeon, takes all of his patients through a thorough examination and diagnosis process before any surgical procedure is performed. Mr Geutjens will always ensure that a surgical approach is the most appropriate option and will fully explain the benefits and risks involved with any surgical procedure before proceeding.