Learn more about knee replacements at King Edward VII’s Hospital
We know living with a damaged knee can be a painful experience and can impact your quality of life. Here you can find out more about our London knee replacement specialists and find out if this treatment is the right option for you. On this page King Edward VII’s Hospital London knee replacement consultants answer your questions about the procedure.
If you choose to have your treatment with us you can be rest assured you’ll receive the best possible care. As part of our wrap around care before, during and after you knee replacement you’ll be able to access Joint School where you’ll have dedicated 1 on 1 time with a team of clinical nurse specialists and physiotherapist. This dedicated service will give you the ability to get personalised advice to enhance your healing journey and get back to feeling like yourself again quicker. Find out more.
Why would I need total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery?
Most patients requiring a total prosthetic replacement of the knee joint need one because their knee is damaged or diseased and is causing significant pain and problems with mobility. Some patients requiring this type of surgery have knee pain even at rest.
Knee pain can be caused by injury or by diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, haemophilia and gout. It can also be caused by conditions that cause abnormal bone growth or bone deformities.
What symptoms does total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery address?
A total prosthetic replacement of the knee joint can help to relieve severe pain and stiffness within the knee joint that is causing reduced mobility and quality of life.
It can also help if your knee discomfort is affecting your ability to carry out everyday tasks such as working, shopping, getting in and out of the bath or enjoying a social life.
When should you speak to your specialist about total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery?
If your knee pain hasn’t been successfully treated or reduced by painkillers, physiotherapy or steroid injections, then speak to your knee replacement specialist. They may then be able to refer you for total prosthetic replacement of the knee joint surgery.
How is total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery performed?
Total prosthetic replacement of the knee joint surgery is often performed under a general anaesthetic meaning that you’ll be asleep throughout. A spinal anaesthetic can also be used. It normally takes between one to two hours and will require a few nights in hospital following surgery.
Your knee replacement consultant surgeon will make a surgical cut down the front of your knee in order to expose and move the knee cap. They will then cut away the damaged parts of your thigh and shin bone that are within the knee joint, before a prosthetic knee joint is put into place.
The prosthetic will then be cemented into place using a surgical cement once your surgeon is sure it’s in the right place and working well. The knee cap is then put back into place and your wound stitched or clipped together. You will wake with a bandaged knee.
What is the recovery like for total prosthetic replacement knee surgery?
Your recovery from total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.
You will be encouraged to get out of bed and to stand on your affected leg soon after surgery, normally within 12 to 24 hours, using crutches or a walking frame. Your nursing staff will help you and will give you advice from your surgeon on how best to recover.
During your hospital stay, you will also receive help and guidance from your physiotherapy team.
This will include advice on when you can return to your normal activities. Most people require help getting about for around six weeks. It can take up to three months for the pain and swelling in your knee to completely disappear.
Are there any risks/complications associated with total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery?
As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or surgeon beforehand will help you avoid any adverse reactions.
Total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but the following risks and complications can occur in a small number of cases:
- An infection in the surgical wound
- Blood clots
- Nerve damage in the knee joint or surrounding area
- Knee fracture
- Loosening of implants
How can I prepare for total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery?
Prior to total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare, as each patient is different with different needs.
Common preparations for total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery include:
- Routine blood tests, x rays or scans as requested by your surgeon
- Taking steps to stop smoking if you smoke
- Losing weight if you’re overweight
- Remaining active and doing regular exercise
Are there alternatives for total prosthetic replacement of knee joint surgery?
You may be able to manage the pain in your knee by taking painkillers or having physiotherapy and/or steroid injections. Using a walking stick may also help. Lesser surgery can sometimes be considered in the form of an osteotomy or partial knee replacement.