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Revision Knee Replacement Surgery

Surgery to replace a worn or damaged knee prosthesis

Dressings on a patient's leg after knee replacement revision surgery
Knee replacement surgery is an operation to remove a damaged knee joint and replace it with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic or ceramic. This is known as an implant or prosthesis.

Knee replacements are highly effective at reducing pain and improving mobility in people with chronic knee pain, but over time they may fail and need replacing. Revision knee replacement surgery is an operation where the original prosthesis is removed and replaced with a new one.

This page explains what revision knee replacement surgery is, what happens during revision knee replacement surgery, and what to expect during your recovery.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private revision knee replacement surgery with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group. Our expert surgeons are ready and waiting to help you.

Your revision knee replacement cost in the UK will differ depending on where you receive treatment and the type of knee replacement surgery you have.

The cost of private revision knee replacement surgery with Circle Health Group starts from around £22,219.

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

If you have private health insurance , knee surgery will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

The cost of surgery for revision of a knee replacement

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £22,975 Included £22,975
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £23,175

Your consultant will recommend revision knee replacement surgery if your original prosthetic is no longer working properly. This may cause symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Reduced mobility
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Instability
  • Fractures

What are the risk factors for a failed knee replacement?

Risk factors for a failed knee replacement include:

  • Age - the younger you are when you have your first knee replacement, the more likely you are to need revision surgery
  • Weight - being overweight or obese increases the risk of wear and loosening of the prosthesis
  • Activity level - the more active you are, the more stress is placed on your prosthesis over time causing more wear and tear
  • Previous knee surgeries - if you have had previous knee surgeries, you are at higher risk of infection and implant failure

There are several reasons why a knee replacement may fail. Some knee replacements fail within days, weeks or months of the original surgery, while others may fail after many years.

Over time, wear and tear can cause damage to the prosthesis meaning it needs to be replaced. On average you will need to have revision knee replacement surgery fifteen to twenty years after your first knee replacement surgery.

Some of the reasons a knee replacement may fail include:


Infection is a rare but known complication of surgery and may occur despite precautions taken to prevent it. It most commonly occurs in the days or weeks after your knee replacement but can occur years later. Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness and a build-up of fluid around the joint. In some cases, the prosthesis may begin to loosen its attachment to the bone.

Loosening of the implant

When you have your first knee replacement surgery, your prosthetic implant is firmly fixed into place either by using bone cement or a special surface that allows your bone tissue to grow and attach to the implant. Over time the implant may loosen so that it is no longer attached to the bone.

Being overweight or engaging in high-impact activity increases the risk of this by wearing away the plastic between the implants.

In some cases, the bone around the prosthesis begins to degenerate causing loosening of the implant. This is known as osteolysis.

Signs that your prosthesis is loosening include pain and reduced movement of your knee joint.


Instability of the prosthesis can occur when there is damage to the ligaments that hold the implant in place. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and a feeling that your knee is 'giving way'.


Stiffness after knee replacement surgery is commonly caused by a build-up of scar tissue around the joint and is usually dealt with by post-operative physiotherapy.

If stiffness doesn't improve with physiotherapy, your consultant may try a technique called manipulation under anaesthetic. During this procedure, you are given a general anaesthetic and your consultant moves your knee to try to break up the scar tissue and restore movement. If this procedure is not successful, you may need revision knee replacement surgery.


As we get older, our bones often become weaker and more porous making fractures (breaks in the bone) more likely. In addition, knee replacement surgery weakens the part of the bone that is attached to the prosthesis.

A periprosthetic fracture is a fracture of one of the bones surrounding the prosthesis. If this occurs, revision knee replacement surgery is needed to replace the prosthesis and repair the fracture.

X rayAt your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical examination of your knee. They will order an X-ray and possibly other imaging scans like CT, MRI, or bone scans.

If your consultant suspects an infection, they will order blood tests and may take a sample of fluid from your knee to send to the laboratory for analysis.

Why is this first consultation so important?

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it's where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will decide whether revision knee replacement surgery is the right option for you. They will explain the procedure to you including any possible risks and complications, what will happen during your surgery, and what to expect during your recovery.

It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible before, during, and after your surgery, so please ask your consultant any questions you may have.

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your surgery. If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice.

Being well-prepared for your surgery will help to ease any anxiety you may have as well as allow your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in the best possible health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

Do I need to prepare my home for after my surgery?

Your mobility will be limited for several weeks after your surgery, and you will need help with day-to-day tasks like cooking, cleaning, and shopping. If you live alone, you will need to arrange help either from a friend or privately after your discharge from hospital.

Some things you can do to prepare your home for after your surgery include:

  • Prepare single-portion meals that can be easily heated up
  • Stock up your fridge, freezer, and cupboards with easy-to-prepare foods
  • Remove items you could trip over such as low tables, magazine stands and rugs
  • Keep things you use frequently like books, medications, and the TV remote control within easy reach

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

What happens during your surgery may vary according to your individual case, so talk to your consultant about what will happen during your surgery.

Revision knee replacement surgery may be performed under general anaesthetic which means you'll be asleep for the procedure, or regional anaesthetic which means you'll be awake but won't feel anything from the waist down. You'll also be given some medicine to relax you during your operation.

The type of surgery you have depends on whether or not there is an infection present in the joint.

If an infection is present, the surgery needs to be done in two stages:

Stage one - the prosthesis is removed and bone cement containing antibiotics is injected into the knee.

Stage two - after six to eight weeks, if the infection has cleared, the bone cement is removed, and the new prosthesis is implanted.

If there is no infection present, the entire surgery can be done in one go. The old prosthesis is removed, the joint washed out and the new prosthesis is implanted. The procedure is performed using computer-assisted navigation, a technique that allows your surgeon to monitor your surgery on a screen.

Revision knee replacement surgery normally takes between two and three hours.

Recovery from surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors like your age, general health, and how active you were before your surgery. Your consultant will give you an estimated timeline for your recovery.

After your operation, it's important that you are an active participant in your recovery and follow your consultant's instructions carefully. Call the hospital or speak to your consultant if you are worried about anything or have any questions during your recovery.

Your consultant will arrange a follow-up appointment to check your progress around six weeks after your surgery.

What is an average timeline for recovery?

  • Immediately after your surgery, you will be monitored in the recovery room until you are fully recovered from your anaesthetic and your vital signs are stable. You will then be taken to your room
  • In the twelve to twenty-four hours after surgery, you will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk with aids such as crutches or a walker. A member of our physiotherapy team will help you

Early walking and movement of your knee are vital for your recovery. Your physiotherapist will show you exercises to do during the first few months after your surgery. Doing these exercises every day as directed by your physiotherapist is essential to prevent long-term complications and for a full and speedy recovery.

  • Between two and six weeks after your surgery, you can gradually begin to increase your activity level and introduce gentle exercise and longer walks into your routine
  • Between six and twelve weeks after your surgery, you should be able to carry out most daily activities
  • It normally takes between three and four months to recover fully from revision knee replacement surgery

Will I be in pain after surgery?

After any surgery, it's normal to experience some post-operative pain. Your consultant will prescribe painkillers for this, and we'll do our best to manage your pain and keep any discomfort to a minimum. Please let a member of your healthcare team know if you experience pain after your surgery.

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

You can expect to spend three to seven days in hospital after revision knee replacement surgery.

You may choose to stay in hospital longer or take part in a rehabilitation programme supervised by our physiotherapy team. If you feel this is a good option for you, discuss this with your consultant during your initial consultation.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive yourself home after your surgery, so please arrange for someone to come and collect you once you are discharged.

How soon can I go back to work?

When you can go back to work depends on your recovery and the type of job you do. If you have a sedentary job, like working in an office, you will probably be able to return to work around six weeks after your surgery. For more strenuous jobs involving lifting, or manual work, you can expect to wait at least three months before returning to work. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to return to work after your surgery.

How soon can I drive?

You should wait at least six weeks before driving after your surgery. Driving before you are ready could be dangerous and may invalidate your insurance. It's best to get the all-clear from your consultant and your insurance company before driving after your surgery.

When will I be back to normal?

Everyone recovers from surgery at a different pace, but in general, you should be able to resume most daily activities around three to four months after surgery.

As with all surgery, revision knee replacement surgery carries a small risk of complications. Your surgical team will do everything possible to minimise this risk and your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery.

Being as well-informed as possible about the risks and complications of surgery will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision, so please ask any questions you may have. 
General complications of surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Chest infection
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications of revision knee surgery include:

  • Poor wound healing
  • Stiffness
  • Infection
  • Bone fracture after surgery
  • Damage to nerves or blood vessels

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about revision knee replacement surgery

What is the success rate for revision knee replacement surgery?

Revision knee replacement surgery is a more complicated procedure than primary knee replacement surgery and the second prosthesis is not expected to last as long as the original implant. The risk of complications is also higher than with primary knee replacement surgery.

The procedure still has a high success rate and between 75 and 80% of revision knee replacements are still functioning after ten years1.

How many times can a knee replacement revision be done?

In theory, there is no limit on the number of revision knee replacements you can have. If your revision knee replacement fails, your consultant will discuss any further revision knee replacements with you based on your individual circumstances.

Is recovery more difficult for revision knee replacements?

Recovering from revision knee replacement surgery is harder and takes longer than primary knee replacement surgery. The most common problems during recovery are joint stiffness and reduced mobility. The risk of these can be reduced by being as healthy as possible before your surgery, following your consultant's instructions carefully and post-operative physiotherapy.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant best suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about revision knee replacement surgery book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

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