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Knee surgery

Diagnosis and treatment for your knee problem

Knee surgery describes medical procedures to remove and repair diseased and damaged bone and cartilage from your knee joint. This form of surgery is usually performed by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons. The procedures and techniques of knee surgery help reduce – and even eliminate – knee pain, vastly improving your function, movement, and quality of life.

There are many reasons why you might require knee surgery, for example arthritic pain, or a fracture caused by an accident during contact sports or a bad fall. Knee pain can be immensely challenging to live with, especially if you feel it every day. 

Knee pain can affect your ability to perform everyday tasks, making staying fit and healthy seem impossible at times. It can also interfere with your sleeping habits, social life, and relationships. You might find that your mental health suffers as a result of knee pain and its effects on your lifestyle. 

At Circle Health Group, we understand that living with joint pain can be physically and emotionally trying. But we also know it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re here to help you feel like you again.

At Thornbury Hospital in Sheffield, we have a network of brilliant Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeons able to perform a variety of knee operations to help you get better – faster. Whether you’re from Sheffield, South Yorkshire or further afield, it’s time to walk away from knee pain.

There is a wide range of symptoms you might experience that could mean you require knee surgery. This is especially so if you have found that other knee treatment options, such as medication and physiotherapy, have been unsuccessful in alleviating your pain. These symptoms include:  

  • Knee pain when exercising and walking
  • Knee pain during sex
  • Stiffness and restriction of movement in your knee
  • Knee pain when walking
  • Knee pain at night
  • Knee pain that disrupts your sleeping patterns
  • An inability to support your body weight on one leg 
  • Severe swelling in your knee
  • Limited relief from other treatment options tried  

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, you might have a joint pain condition, such as:


This causes pain and stiffness in your knee, which has an impact on your overall movement. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain and stiffness, tenderness, and a grating sound that happens when you move your affected joint or joints. 

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory joint condition caused by an autoimmune process, which is when your body attacks its healthy cells by mistake. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in your knee include pain, swelling and inflammation in your joints. 

A knee fracture

A knee fractures happen is a break or crack in one or more of the bones that make up your knee joint. Fractures are usually caused by a traumatic injury such as a contact sports injury or a bad fall. Symptoms of a knee fracture include severe pain in your knee, difficulty extending your leg, tenderness when pressing on your kneecap, and swelling.

Knee bursitis

Bursitis occurs when you damage the bursa in your knee. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac located close to your joint that reduces friction between bones and tendons. Symptoms of knee bursitis include pain, swelling and stiffness in your knee.

Will I need surgery for knee pain?

Please note that many people find relief from knee pain through medication,  physiotherapy, heat therapy, injection therapy, or a combination of these treatment options. However, if you do not find relief through non-surgical options such as these, you might be recommended knee surgery. 

You will usually have your initial consultation within 48 hours of getting in touch. Whether you book online or call us, most people find a convenient appointment within two days. 

At your initial consultation, your chosen specialist will ask about your health and examine your medical history. They will want to know about existing medical conditions you suffer from, as well as the current knee pain symptoms you are experiencing. They will also want to know how these symptoms impact your everyday life, how often they occur and whether you have tried treatment options for them already. 

In order to assess your symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis of your knee pain, your Consultant will gently carry out a physical examination of your joint(s). If they feel you need an X-ray in order to get an accurate diagnosis, you can have one performed onsite by one of our expert Radiologists.

After your Consultant has identified the cause of your knee pain, they will share more information about knee surgery and whether it might be the right treatment option for you. It is important to remember that your initial consultation is a positive step in your journey toward getting better. Your Consultant is there to answer any questions you might have and ease any concerns you might experience about undergoing surgery (should you need it). 

The time between your initial consultation and undergoing treatment depends on your individual circumstances and whether you have been diagnosed with a joint pain condition or traumatic injury prior to your consultation. 

After your initial consultation, your Consultant and a multidisciplinary team of compassionate healthcare professionals will ensure you understand the next steps in your journey and how to prepare for the treatments you have been recommended, whether surgical or non-invasive. 

At Thornbury Hospital in Sheffield, we offer a variety of surgical treatments for chronic knee pain. What happens in a knee operation will differ depending on which procedure you require. Some of our most common procedures include:

Knee arthroscopy

A knee arthroscopy is a keyhole procedure used to diagnose and treat a variety of problems in your knee, for example a torn meniscus (cartilage), a dislocated patella (kneecap), or a torn ligament in your knee. During a knee arthroscopy, your Orthopaedic Surgeon will pass an arthroscope (a thin tube with a camera attached to the end) through an incision in your knee. They will then make a few more incisions to pass specialised surgical instruments into your knee and carry out your required treatment.

Knee replacement surgery

The knee joint is made of three main parts. If only one part of your knee is damaged, you could be recommended partial knee replacement surgery to replace and remove this one damaged part with an artificial component, also referred to as a prosthesis.

If more than one part of your knee is damaged, your Orthopaedic Surgeon could suggest a total knee replacement operation. This will involve removing the damaged ends of your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) and replacing them with a prosthesis. The base of your patella (kneecap) could also be replaced with a prosthesis, but this will depend on the condition of your knee.

Knee revision surgery

Although a knee replacement will typically last many years, it is still common for the prosthesis to wear down over time, and many people will eventually need to have a second operation to replace the implant, which is known as knee revision surgery.

During knee revision surgery, your Orthopaedic Surgeon will remove the artificial components of your knee replacement. Your knee joint will be washed out and a new prosthesis will be fitted in its place.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery

Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament in your knee that connects your femur (thigh bone) to your tibia (shin bone). A torn ACL is a common injury, especially among athletes such as footballers.

ACL reconstruction surgery repairs this damage to the ligament. It is a very successful operation that can restore full function to your knee, however the recovery time is significant.

Your knee surgery recovery timeline depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The type of surgery you undergo
  • Your age
  • Your fitness
  • Your general health

Some of our main surgeries typically have the following recovery timelines:

Knee arthroscopy

It takes most people six weeks in total to completely recover from knee arthroscopy surgery.

Your knee is likely to feel painful and swollen after surgery, but you will be offered painkillers, or a cold compress, to help alleviate these symptoms. You will also spend some time with a Physiotherapist, who will help you to get out of bed and take your first steps after surgery. They will teach you a series of tailored exercises that you can perform at home during your recovery.

You can usually leave hospital two days after surgery. You will not be able to drive home after surgery, so will need to arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up. Alternatively, we can arrange for a taxi to collect you at our hospital. After around two to three weeks, you can start exercising again, but be gentle with yourself. Try some low-impact swimming, walking, or cycling, but do not overexert yourself. It is important to stay active and gradually increase activity as you recover at home.

You usually need one or two weeks of absence from work during your recovery period, but this differs depending on your overall health and whether your job involves physical activity. You can drive when you have enough strength to safely perform an emergency stop.

Your Consultant can provide you with more detailed information on this. They will also be able to inform you of a more specific recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

Knee replacement surgery

You can usually leave hospital two or three days after surgery. You will not be able to drive home after surgery, so will need to arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up. Alternatively, we can arrange for a taxi to collect you at our hospital.

It is normal to have initial discomfort after knee replacement surgery, especially when walking or exercising. You can take painkillers to help manage this pain.

A total knee replacement recovery timeline will differ from a partial knee replacement recovery timeline. You can discuss this with your Consultant to ensure you understand what to expect from your recovery. Most people can resume their normal activities within six weeks of having surgery. You should refrain from strenuous exercises as you heal but can enjoy plenty of low-impact walks and gentle swimming.

You will likely be advised to begin walking on your new knee as soon as possible. Your Physiotherapist will help you take your first steps after surgery to ensure you can stand and walk safely, without putting too much pressure on your knee. You will require the support of a walking frame or crutches initially. Your Physiotherapist can show you how best to use these walking aids and teach you a series of specialist exercises to perform at home during your recovery.

Your Consultant can provide you with a more specific recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery

The recovery timeline for an ACL reconstruction is longer than knee arthroscopy surgery and knee replacement.

Recovering from this surgery can take up to one year. For the first two weeks after surgery, you may experience some pain and stiffness in your knee. You can take painkillers for this. Your Physiotherapist will help you take your first steps after surgery and build a tailored exercise plan you can follow throughout your recovery. This will help strengthen your knee muscles and ensure you regain movement and function as quickly as possible.

You can usually leave hospital two or three days after surgery. You will not be able to drive home after surgery, so will need to arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up. Alternatively, we can arrange for a taxi to collect you at our hospital.

You should gradually return to your normal activities between six weeks and six months after your knee operation. You can continue to enjoy low-impact exercise, such as swimming and cycling. After six months, you should be able to return to sport.

Your Consultant can provide you with a more specific recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

Physiotherapy after knee surgery

Your physiotherapist will work with you to ensure you get out of bed and begin walking safely after surgery. They will also build an exercise plan tailored to your needs to help strengthen your knee and improve your mobility following the procedure. You will also be able to perform these exercises at home throughout your recovery. If you’ll need any specialist equipment for this, our team will let you know and help you source it. Your Physiotherapist will ensure you know how to perform these safely and effectively outside of your sessions.

Knee revision surgery: starting from £20,900*

Knee replacement surgery: starting from £13,089*

Knee revision surgery: starting from £20,900*

ACL reconstruction surgery: starting from £7,239*

Paying for surgery with us is a simple process. We offer several flexible easy payment options. These help you to spread the cost of your payment across a time that suits you. You can find out more about our flexible payment options here.

*The prices that are listed above include the cost of your initial consultation, treatment, and post-discharge care at our hospital. But these prices are only an estimate. The total cost of your treatment at Thornbury Hospital will be confirmed in writing after your consultation and any necessary diagnostics tests. Further terms and conditions apply.

At Thornbury Hospital, we help for people from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and further afield. Our exceptional standards of care are shown in our latest patient satisfaction survey, with 99.9% of patients rating their quality of care at Thornbury Hospital as excellent or very good. 

There are many advantages to having treatment at Thornbury Hospital. These include: 

  • The ability to choose the hospital most convenient for you
  • Expert care from a compassionate team
  • Stringent checks and processes to ensure your safety at all times
  • Free, easy-to-access parking around the clock
  • Catering services to suit your dietary requirements
  • En-suite hospital rooms with Wi-Fi, TV, and direct-dial telephone
  • Sophisticated onsite diagnostic equipment, including MRI and CT scanning
  • An on-site physiotherapy suite where you can undergo sessions with a Physiotherapist to improve your range of movement and strengthen your muscles

Find help for your knee problems today by phoning a member of our team or booking an appointment online

It is important to remember that complications from knee surgery are rare and that complications can occur during any surgery, not just knee surgery. 

Specific complications that can occur during knee surgery include: 

  • Damage to your nerves
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • Infection in your knee
  • Knee dislocation
  • Persistent pain in the knee

Serious complications as a result of knee surgery are rare. If you have any concerns about these, speak with your Consultant. They will be able to discuss the risks of knee surgery with you in more detail and put some of your worries to rest. 

Specialists offering Knee surgery

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Mr Naren Garneti

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MSc (Tr) MRCS MCh (Orth) FRCS (Tr & Orth)

Thornbury Hospital

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Mr Ian Carmichael

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB ChB FRSC(Ed) FRCS(Ed)(Tr & Orth) dipSEM(GB&I)

Thornbury Hospital

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Mr Alexander Anderson

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon


Thornbury Hospital

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Mr Michael Edwards

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon


Thornbury Hospital

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Mr David Wood

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB ChB, MRCS, FRCS (Tr and Orth)

Thornbury Hospital

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Mr Stephen Blair

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

FRCS (Trauma and Orthopaedics)

Thornbury Hospital

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