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Knee replacement surgery

Private knee replacement operations for patients in Birmingham.

At The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, we offer private knee replacement surgery for patients located in Birmingham and its surrounding areas. We also welcome people from further afield in the UK and even abroad. Our Consultants are highly skilled and many people choose to travel to Birmingham in order to benefit from their expertise. 

When you choose to go private with us, you’ll get fast access to treatment by a leading knee specialist – we can usually book your initial consultation within 48 hours.  

During this first appointment, an Orthopaedic Surgeon (also known as an Orthopaedic Consultant, or a Consultant Surgeon) will first perform a diagnostic assessment to determine the cause of your symptoms. They will then work with a multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Priory Hospital, including Pain Management Consultants and Physiotherapists, to put forth a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs and requirements.  

We will always consider non-surgical treatments for knee pain first, for example physiotherapy or steroid injections. However, if the damage to your knee joint is too severe, or if your symptoms are significantly impacting your daily life, we may recommend knee replacement surgery.  

Knee replacement surgery is an operation to treat significant knee pain as well as stiffness, swelling and lack of movement in the knee joint. Over 70,000 knee replacements are carried out each year in England and Wales. 

Your knee joint is formed of your femur (thigh bone), tibia (shinbone) and patella (kneecap). Your knee also consists of three compartments known as the lateral (outer), medial (inner) and anterior (front) parts of your knee. If these compartments or bones that form your joint become damaged or arthritic, an operation called a knee replacement could be considered. 

Knee replacement surgery (also referred to as an arthroplasty) is an operation that replaces the damaged area of your knee joint with an artificial joint, known as a prosthesis.  

There are two main types of knee replacement operations:  

Total knee replacement surgery is when the damaged ends of both your femur (thighbone) and your tibia (shinbone) are replaced with a prosthesis  

Unicompartmental knee replacement surgery (also known as partial knee replacement surgery) is when only one part of your joint is replaced with a prosthesis. This procedure can be performed if only one compartment of your knee needs to be replaced 

Which type of knee replacement surgery will I need?

The type of knee replacement operation you have will depend on the damage inside your knee joint, as well as on your personal circumstances, for example your diagnosis, medical history, age and lifestyle.  

Although a partial knee replacement is often recommended when only one part of your knee is damaged, it won’t be appropriate for everyone. For example, patients with arthritis or damage in more than one area, patients with knee instability or patients who have had an osteotomy (an operation to change your bone’s length or alignment) will probably not be recommended partial knee replacement surgery.  

Moreover, a partial replacement operation might not be offered for patients with an inflammatory type of arthritis such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis. 

Your Surgeon will be sure to explain exactly what type of surgery they are recommending you have, as well as all the reasons why. 

What is a bilateral knee replacement?

If you are advised to have a joint replacement surgery in both knees, you might consider having this performed in a single operation called a bilateral knee replacement. This is also known as double knee replacement surgery. As both knees are treated in a single operation, it offers a shorter recovery period. 

A knee replacement is commonly performed to treat damage from the following conditions:  

Osteoarthritis: With an estimated nine million people in the UK affected, this is the most prevalent form of arthritis. It occurs when your cartilage (the tissue cushioning your joint) breaks down causing the bones of your joint to rub together. This can lead to pain and stiffness and can also affect your mobility 

Rheumatoid arthritis: Although this form of arthritis is less common, it nonetheless affects around 400, 000 people in the UK. It occurs when your immune system wrongly attacks the cells lining the inside of your joint causing pain, swelling and stiffness. You are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis if you are a smoker, or if you have a family history of the condition 

Gout: This is a type of inflammatory arthritis triggered by a build-up of uric acid in your bloodstream. When your body breaks down a type of protein called purines, uric acid is created, which is then filtered by your kidneys and exits your body through your urine. But increased levels of uric acid in your blood stream can lead to a build-up, causing small crystals to form inside and around your joint 

Knee injury: Injuries that can lead to a knee replacement inclide a dislocated patella (kneecap), a stretched ligament (known as a sprain) or a tear in one of your ligaments or cartilage. You might also need knee replacement surgery if you had an accident in the past and the damage has got worse over time 

To book your appointment with one of our Orthopaedic Specialists, you can call us on 0121 4402323 or book your appointment online today. 

Your Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham will also consider a knee replacement operation if you are experiencing the following symptoms:  

  • Limited mobility in your knee that makes it difficult or impossible to perform everyday activities 
  • Pain that is disturbing your sleep  
  • Pain that is impacting your quality of life, for example preventing you from engaging in social activities or working 
  • Pain that is significantly affecting your mental health 
  • Severe knee pain, swelling and stiffness in your knee 

At your initial consultation with an Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, your Consultant will discuss your symptoms, including when they first appeared and how these symptoms have been impacting your day-to-day life. They will also discuss your medical history, and perform a physical examination to take a closer at your knee. Your Orthopaedic Surgeon might then recommend an X-ray (a painless scan that could take up to 30 minutes) to examine the structures inside your knee. This can help your Surgeon with diagnosing your symptoms.  

It is important that you notify your Consultant or Nurse at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham of any medication that you are taking. You must also tell them if you suspect that you might be pregnant, as X-rays are often not recommended for pregnant women and any anaesthesia included in your treatment plan could affect your pregnancy. You might be offered a pregnancy test to confirm this. 

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, your Orthopaedic Consultant will work with various specialists including Pain Management Consultants, Anaesthestists and Physiotherapists to establish a treatment plan that is tailored to your diagnosis.  

We normally recommend that you try non-surgical treatments first, before choosing to have a knee replacement. This could include pain relief medication, steroid injections to alleviate swelling or pain, or a course of targeted physiotherapy, which we offer onsite. But, if these do not improve your symptoms, joint replacement surgery could be advised.  

If you advised to have knee replacement surgery, you will need to undergo a pre-operative assessment at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham to ensure that you are fit for surgery. This will include a general health check where your Orthopaedic Surgeon or a Nurse will measure your weight, height, blood pressure and heart rate. You could be asked to have a blood test and provide a urine sample. Your Nurse will also perform an MRSA swab, which will involve rubbing a cotton bud against your skin to check for the presence of MRSA (a type of bacteria).  

At your preoperative assessment, your Orthopaedic Surgeon or Nurse will also inform you when to stop eating or drinking before your surgery and what to bring with you to your operation. 

Preparing for partial or total (full) knee replacement surgery

As well as attending a pre-operative assessment, your Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham might ask you to do certain things to prepare for surgery: This could include:  

Quitting smoking: As smoking can delay the healing of your wounds and put you at risk of anaesthesia-related complications, your Orthopaedic Consultant will guide you to support services to help you quit smoking 

Keeping active: You will be encouraged to do gentle exercises ahead of your surgery to strengthen your knee and aid your recovery. Your Physiotherapist at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham will explain what this will involve by sharing a programme of exercises 

Weight loss: Patients with a higher body mass index (BMI) are more likely to suffer complications during and after your knee replacement surgery. If you have a high BMI, your Surgeon will encourage you to lose weight before your operation 

Finding home assistance: During the initial stages of your recovery, you could need help around the house, for example with showering or shopping. You might therefore benefit from having a family member or friend at home with you. Our Occupational Therapists at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham can also support you during your recovery 

Your knee replacement surgery at The Priory Hospital in Birmingham could be performed under spinal or general anaesthetic. If you are given a spinal anaesthetic (an injection to prevent pain from the waist down), you could be offered sedation to encourage you to sleep during your surgery. General anaesthetic will ensure that you are asleep throughout your operation. You could also be given a local anaesthetic injection during your surgery, which can provide pain relief for several hours after your operation.  

During a total knee replacement operation, your Orthopaedic Surgeon will first create an incision in your knee to access your patella (kneecap). This is moved aside to provide access to your joint. Your Surgeon will then remove the damaged ends of your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone). The ends of these bones are measured and shaped to fit your prosthesis. But before this is fitted, your Orthopaedic Surgeon will test your joint with a trial prosthesis. 

Once the prosthesis is ready to be fitted, your Surgeon will replace the end of your femur with a curved metal piece, while a metal plate will replace the end of your tibia. Your Consultant will position a plastic spacer between these two metal parts to minimise friction. Total knee replacement surgery could also include replacing the back of your patella (kneecap), but this will depend on your diagnosis.  

If you are having partial knee replacement surgery to remove and replace a specific damaged part, surgery can be performed using a smaller incision.  

After your partial or total knee replacement surgery, your incision will be closed with stitches or clips and covered with a dressing.  

What are knee replacements made of?

The prosthesis used in knee replacement surgery is usually formed of metal and high-density plastic. These parts might be secured in place using bone cement (often made from a synthetic resin) or be treated to encourage them to fuse to your bone.  

How long does knee replacement surgery take?

A knee replacement operation typically takes between one to two hours to perform.

After your operation, you will be taken to a recovery ward at The Priory Hospital where you will be monitored. You might be offered some refreshments. A Nurse will help you stand within 12 to 24 hours after your operation.  

Following your surgery, you will need to stay with us for up to three days. Every patient at The Priory Hospital has their own private room with an en-suite bathroom, a TV and WiFi. Our team are here to make you feel as comfortable as possible, so please don’t hesitate to ask us for anything you need. 

You will be visited by one our Physiotherapists who will provide you with crutches or a walking frame to support you with walking. They will guide you through an exercise programme that you will need to continue doing at home. Physiotherapy exercises after a knee replacement can include knee flexion (bending) or extension (straightening) exercises, and circulation exercises where you could be asked to regularly move your ankles to prevent blood clots.  

The recovery timeline for your operation

After one week, you should be able to walk with the support of walking aid such as a walking stick. However, it could take six weeks for you to walk independently. You might also experience some pain or swelling that can take about three months to settle. But you will be given pain relief medication to alleviate any post-surgery pain.  

Returning to work, sport and driving after a knee replacement

You should be able to drive again around six to eight weeks after your operation. Your return to work could take between six to 12 weeks. It will depend on your surgery and the type of work that you do.  

Although you should be able to take part in sports such as swimming or walking after your knee replacement, you might be asked to avoid sports where there is a risk of falling or high-impact sports such as jumping or running. Your Consultant will be able to share with you more information about returning to work and sport.  

Can you kneel after a knee replacement operation?

During the first eight to 12 weeks after your surgery at The Priory Hospital, your Orthopaedic Surgeon will probably advise that you avoid kneeling.   

What is the success rate of partial or total knee replacement surgery?

More than 90% of knee replacements last 15 years or more, and it’s thought that more than 80% of knee replacements actually last 25 years.   

In terms of a reduction in symptoms and people’s satisfaction with their knee replacement surgery, around 90% of people experience a significant reduction in pain.  

At Circle Health Group, our Consultant Surgeons perform thousands of successful knee replacements each year. It is considered a very successful procedure overall. 

Total knee replacement at The Priory starts from £13,089*.

The cost of your surgery will vary depending on your diagnosis and the type of operation that you have.  

At The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, the cost of your treatment can be paid using your private medical insurance or, if you’re paying for your own treatment, you can take advantage of our flexible payment plans.  

If you are paying for yourself, you’ll be given a fixed-price package ahead of any treatment you have, so you’ll always know how much you are going to pay. The cost can be spread over one to five years and we have interest-free options for the first 12 months.  

Your initial consultation and any scans or tests done during this appointment will be charged separately from the rest of your treatment. Again, you’ll be told exactly how much this will cost ahead of time, so you’re always making an informed choice.  

For further information about paying for your treatment at The Priory Hospital, please visit our payment options page.

*The price listed above includes the cost of your initial consultation, treatment and post-discharge care at our hospital. However, these prices are only an estimate, and the final cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing after your consultation. Further terms and conditions apply.

The Priory Hospital is the largest private hospital in Birmingham. Knee replacement surgery is one of our most commonly performed treatments. 

There are many advantages when you choose private knee replacement surgery with us, including:

Fast access to Consultant-led care, with an average wait of less than 48 hours for your first appointment 

  • A bespoke, Consultant-led treatment plan built around your individual needs 
  • Consistency of care, so you’ll see the same dedicated team from start to finish 
  • Spacious hospital rooms guaranteeing your privacy and comfort 
  • On-site catering services so you can eat well while you’re here, whatever your dietary requirements 
  • Free car parking for all our patients and convenient hospital access via public transport
  • Exceptional patient satisfaction rates, with 98.4% of patients likely to recommend The Priory Hospital in Birmingham to their loved ones 
To book your appointment with one of our Orthopaedic Specialists, you can call us on 0121 4402323 or book your appointment online today. 

Mr Marcus Green | The Priory Hospital | What types of knee replacement are there?

Mr Marcus Green is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in knees and shoulders. He answers commonly asked questions about knee surgery, discussing the difference between total knee replacement and partial knee replacement surgery and why you might be recommended one or the other.

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