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Knee replacement surgery

Experts at diagnosing and treating the causes of knee pain

The knee is the largest joint in the body, which is why knee pain can be so disruptive to daily life. You might notice your knees hurt when you’re climbing stairs when you bend down to do gardening or run around after your grandchildren. Some patients even experience knee pain when they’re at rest.

The good news is that knee replacement has evolved as an operation over the years. Today, we’re not only focused on relieving pain but restoring as close to normal function as possible. By choosing our specialist knee unit for your treatment, you’ll gain access to world-class surgeons and a specialist knee team of physiotherapists, nurses and occupational therapists.

An exceptional standard of care

From diagnosis to surgery and our enhanced recovery programme.

Cared for and comfortable

You’ll feel taken care of from the moment you arrive. Our warm and welcoming team is ready to answer any questions you might have. If you do require knee replacement surgery, you’ll be welcomed into a private ensuite bedroom with chef-prepared meals designed to support your recovery.

Fully prepared and informed

As part of our programme of care here at Sulis Hospital, you will be invited to attend Joint School. Led by our specialist team, this informative course explores what to expect on the day of your surgery and demonstrates the exercises you can do to promote a faster recovery.

Enhanced recovery programme

It’s important to get up and moving around as soon as possible after surgery, so we have pioneered an innovative recovery programme. Physiotherapy starts as soon as you are able to get onto your feet, with follow-up appointments tailored to your specific needs and goals.

When the surface of the knee has been damaged beyond repair, it can cause bone to rub against bone. Knee replacement surgery involves removing damaged areas of cartilage and bone from the kneecap, shinbone and thighbone and replacing it with a prosthetic part made from metal and plastic.

Most knee replacement patients are over the age of fifty and are finding daily tasks, such as climbing stairs or walking, difficult. Many have osteoarthritis, which is a condition that causes the knee joints to wear down. Knee replacement surgery may also be suitable for patients who have experienced an injury to the knee.

If you are experiencing pain in the knee, an expert will need to investigate the source of your knee pain further. Following a consultation and physical examination, it is likely that you will require a diagnostic scan, such as an MRI or X-ray so that the issue can be diagnosed and the damage assessed.

We pride ourselves on making sure that our patients are fully informed ahead of surgery and our Joint School outlines everything you need to know. For example, you will need to arrange for someone to pick you up from hospital. It’s also helpful to have someone at home to help you with tasks that might be difficult while you are recovering, such as cooking and cleaning.

Patients often use crutches (or a walker) for several weeks after surgery, so you will want to consider adjusting your living arrangements so that you can avoid using the stairs during this time.

You may also be advised to stop taking certain medications or not to eat anything on the morning of your surgery. Your consultant will discuss this further with you and make sure you are prepared and relaxed on the day.

During knee replacement surgery, you will be placed under anaesthetic, but you may not need to be sedated.

The surgery itself lasts around two hours. The surgeon will make accurate incisions to reveal the kneecap, which is then moved to one side to allow the damaged areas of the joint to be removed. The new knee part is then attached, and the leg is mobilised to make sure the new joint is functioning correctly. You then return to your room to recover and await a visit from one of our friendly physiotherapists.

Most knee replacement surgery involves replacing the surface at the end of your femur and tibia (thighbone and shinbone). We have a range of replacement implants available, and your surgeon will choose the most appropriate one for your knee and lifestyle. Surgeons also perform partial knee replacements, kneecap replacements and revision knee replacement surgery.

Some surgeons now use innovative robotics to enhance accuracy during surgery. Our theatres have been fitted with the industry-leading, Stryker Mako robots. It’s important to note that not all surgeons use robot-assisted technology and isn’t suitable for every patient.

Most patients can go home either the day of or the day after surgery. We aim to get you on your feet as quickly as it is safe to do so, as this encourages blood flow to the area. You are likely to be prescribed pain relief, as well as blood thinners and compression wear to minimise the risk of blood clots.

No surgery is without risk. For knee replacement surgery, complications can include infection, nerve damage, blood clots in the leg veins or lungs, heart attack and stroke. It’s important to tell your consultant if you notice any signs of infection following your operation.

It is also possible that your new knee will wear out too, particularly if the joint is put under stress – for example, through high-impact activities. Your consultant will talk you through the risks involved and the limitations of knee replacement surgery ahead of your operation.

You may be covered by private medical insurance, or you may wish to consider spreading the cost of your surgery by opting for a monthly payment plan.

We aim to make our costs as transparent as possible, but it’s important to talk everything through in detail with your consultant at the time of your appointment. Some costs may be paid directly to the hospital, while others, such as your consultant fees, may be paid directly to the consultant.

Why choose Sulis Hospital Knee Surgery Unit for your surgery?

Knee pain can affect your mobility, confidence and quality of life. Sulis Hospital Knee Surgery Unit offers investigation, diagnosis and surgery for knee pain with short waiting times, so that you can get back on your feet as quickly as possible.

At our specialist unit, you’ll benefit from the combined expertise of world-class surgeons, skilled nurses and dedicated physiotherapists, who are all highly experienced at working with knee patients and focussed on getting you treated and moving quickly and safely.

Treatment Overview

Combining a calming hospital environment with outstanding patient care so you can recover as quickly as possible.

  • Typical hospital stay 0 - 2 days

  • Covered by health insurance? Yes

  • Can I pay privately? Yes

You’re in safe hands at Sulis Hospital.

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