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Knee replacement FAQs

Consultant orthopaedic and knee surgeon, Mr Nadim Aslam, at The Droitwich Spa Hospital and The Priory Hospital responds to your most frequently asked questions about knee replacement surgery, including what the procedure involves and its recovery timeline.

Mr Nadim Aslam: Our price packages include the cost of your surgery, prosthesis, anaesthesia, three days of hospital stay, and medication. It can range from £12,000 to £15,000. The average cost of knee replacement surgery is about £12,500.

Mr Nadim Aslam: In most cases, a knee replacement operation can take between 60 to 90 minutes. 

Mr Nadim Aslam: Enhanced recovery pathways mean your hospital stay can range from one to three days.

Mr Nadim Aslam: You will usually experience pain and swelling in the first few weeks following your operation. It is advised that you do not carry out any excessive activity and try to keep your leg in an elevated position. We usually recommend rest and ice packs during the first few days after your operation to help manage pain and minimise swelling.

You must also keep your wound clean. It is important that you avoid removing or soaking the dressing. You should also wear the stockings provided by your consultant every day and night for six weeks. They will encourage the early movement of your calf to reduce your risk of developing a blood clot.

Mr Nadim Aslam: Your knee pain will improve within a few days after your operation. We encourage you to walk with a walking aid on the day of your surgery. These crutches are generally phased out over a period of four to six weeks. At six weeks, most people are able to walk comfortably with the occasional support of a walking aid.

Your recovery also depends on a few other factors, including how active you were before your surgery, your age, any pre-existing medical conditions, and other health and lifestyle factors.

Mr Nadim Aslam: Patients are often reluctant to kneel due to scar sensitivity or stiffness, but it is possible to kneel and will not cause any harm. We recommend kneeling on soft surfaces to begin with.

Mr Nadim Aslam: You can run after surgery, however, you must avoid impact loading or running on a hard surface, as this can increase the wear rate of the knee, causing your knee replacement to loosen. You should wait six weeks before returning to any high-impact contact sports.

It is advised that you wait around four to six weeks before going swimming, which will give your incision time to completely heal. You will be allowed to participate in leisure activities such as tennis, golf, and increased gym exercise six weeks after your operation.

Mr Nadim Aslam: Your knee joint is more complex and sensitive than your hip joint. It can feel painful during the first four to six weeks following your operation, but you will experience an improvement within 12 weeks.

Mr Nadim Aslam: You will experience swelling and pain after knee replacement surgery, which can affect your ability to walk. The knee implant will allow you to fully weight bear on your knee from the outset. For the first two weeks, your recovery will be focused on reducing any pain and swelling to experience an increased range of motion. You can gradually increase your walking distance as time passes. However, it usually takes around four to six weeks before you can walk a reasonable amount of steps.

Mr Nadim Aslam: The first four to six weeks can be very painful, but your movement will gradually improve as the swelling reduces. We usually see a considerable improvement in pain and swelling between six and 12 weeks.

Mr Nadim Aslam: It is possible to kneel down on your knee, but you might find it more comfortable to begin kneeling with knee pads. It is possible to flex your knee past 90 degrees and you can maintain any comfortable position to get onto or off the floor.

Mr Nadim Aslam:You can keep your knee replacement in a comfortable position while sleeping. There is no risk of dislocation of the joint or requirement to keep your knee in a particular position.

Mr Nadim Aslam: Your knee will feel uncomfortable for six weeks. There is a significant improvement between six to 12 weeks in pain and knee function. After around three to six months, you will be less aware of the replacement and your recovery will have advanced. Your knee will continue to improve over a 24-month period following your surgery

Mr Nadim AslamKnee replacements consist of three components: the femoral (thigh bone) component, the tibial (shin bone) component that has a polyethylene spacer, and the patella (knee cap) which can be resurfaced in certain cases with a button. These components are made of metallic alloys and, in some cases, titanium can be used. The liners and the patella resurfacing button are formed of highly crosslinked polyethylene.

Mr Nadim Aslam: It is possible to perform bilateral knee replacements. However, this is associated with a increased risk of medical and surgical complications and is therefore typically not recommended.

Mr Nadim Aslam: A partial knee replacement replaces one compartment of your knee. This is usually the medial (inner) compartment of your knee, or your patellofemoral (knee cap) compartment.

Partial knee replacement surgery is associated with less pain and an enhanced recovery. A partial knee replacement is also better at preserving a range of motion and function in your knee as it preserves healthy tissue and bone in your knee. 

Mr Nadim Aslam: Knee replacements can be carried out in patients who are overweight, but a BMI that is above 40 is associated with a higher risk of medical and surgical complications. As a result, patients are usually advised to their improve their fitness and keep their BMI to below 40 before surgery.

Mr Nadim Aslam: Knee replacements can be carried out with a pacemaker. During your preoperative assessment, your pacemaker needs to be fully assessed. We try to use a bipolar diathermy (where an electrical current is passed through your body) to minimise the amount of current passed through your body.

Mr Nadim Aslam: Knee replacement is only recommended if you have severe pain and your quality of life has become very limited from knee pain. Your radiographs might show that your knee joint has completely worn out. Prior to being considered for surgery, you should have tried other conservative treatment, including painkillers and physiotherapy

Mr Nadim Aslam: Most people do very well with their knee replacement. But as with any surgery, the procedure does carry some risks. The possible complications of this surgery include: infection, excess bleeding, blood clots, injury to nearby nerves and blood vessels, dislocation of mobile bearing, residual pain, and the loosening of your knee joint.

Specialists offering Knee replacement FAQs

Mr Jeya Palan

Orthopaedic Consultant Surgeon

BSc (Hons), MB BS, PhD, FRCS (Tr & Orth)

The Huddersfield Hospital

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