Knee replacement surgery
Arthritis affects over 10 million people in the UK and can affect us whatever our age and stage of life. The most common type of arthritis is called osteoarthritis. This causes the cartilage covering the surface of the joint and bone in our knee to become worn down and damaged.
Osteoarthritis can cause pain, even during the night or while resting. It can make it much harder to move around freely and can also cause deformity or swelling to the knees and other joints. When osteoarthritis is particularly severe, our knee may become so painful and immobile that knee replacement surgery is needed in order to relieve the pain and to restore our freedom of movement. This surgery can also be a preventative measure to stop more damage or deformity to our joints occurring.
If you have osteoarthritis in your knee, it may be advisable for you to consider a knee replacement. The best thing is to come in for a consultation and get things properly checked out. A consultation gives us the opportunity to talk about your knee pain and to work out a plan to make things better. I will be able to give you advice about the best course of action, and you are always free to choose what happens next. You will also be able to ask me any questions or voice any concerns you may have.
If you decide to have a knee replacement you will need to be in hospital for a few days after the surgery to allow you to recover properly, and you will need to have some time off from work and activities such as driving.
Before the surgery you will be given a choice of anaesthetic, so you can be asleep or awake for the whole procedure. Many people also have a spinal anaesthetic to make sure their legs are completely painless. You won't be able to eat for eight hours before the anaesthetic, though you will be able to drink small amounts of water until four hours before.
The actual operation takes roughly an hour and a half. I will make a 15-25cm cut down the front of your knee so I can access your knee joint. I will then shave off the worn surfaces of your knee joint which have been damaged and resurface them with a special cobalt/chrome metal and plastic joint. When this has been done, I will close up the incision and bandage your knee to help prevent swelling. We usually attach a small tube to your knee for up to 48 hours after surgery, which pumps local anaesthetic into the knee to reduce pain.
You will need to stay in hospital for anything from one to four days, depending on how you are recovering. The Sulis Hospital Bath physiotherapists will teach you exercises to help you walk, and you will gradually progress from using crutches to walking sticks until you are able to move around freely. You will be able to go home once you are fully weight-bearing and can manage trickier things such as stairs on your own. At home you will be able to shower, manage stairs and toilet.
It is normal to notice a patch of numb skin on the knee after surgery, and there may be some stiffness. Both of these things will gradually improve over time. Cooling your knee regularly is an important part of the recovery process, and you will be given a special cold compress or 'Cryocuff' to help with this. I'll meet up with you again six weeks after the surgery to see how you are getting on and to assess your recovery.
Knee surgery has seen some amazing developments in recent years. We are now able to design replacement joints tailored specifically to our bodies. New technologies such as robotic-arm assistance make it possible for us to carry out surgery with even greater levels of stability and precision. Robotic arm surgery has been shown to reduce pain, swelling and bleeding, improve speed of recovery and function.
My team and I have some of the best clinical results in the UK and are recognised nationally for our excellence and innovative techniques. We want to create an environment which feels safe and comfortable for you so that you can have complete peace of mind over the course of your treatment.
As a doctor who specialises exclusively in problems of the knee, I know just how critical knees are in everyday life. I have suffered knee pain of my own in the past, and I know from first-hand experience how much of a difference being pain free can make. Knee surgery is a constructive option which enables us to move forward, no matter how complicated or overwhelming our situation might feel. I would be delighted to meet with you to find out what is causing your knee pain and to talk through any suitable treatment options. It's easy to get in touch, just call my private secretary Mandy on 01761 422 256.