Knee replacement surgery is a common procedure carried out to replace or resurface a worn, damaged or diseased knee joint with an artificial implant. In 2016, 108,713 knee replacements were carried out across England, Wales, Northern Island, and the Isle of Man[i].
1. When should I have a knee replacement?
If you have been living with severe knee pain that has not been successfully treated with pain medication, physiotherapy, steroid injections or arthroscopic procedures, you may be referred for a knee replacement.
The majority of cases for replacement procedures are related to patients living with osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis, however other conditions such as bone deformity and disorders, gout, or severe injuries to the knee joint, can also result in the need for replacement surgery.
2. How long does a knee replacement procedure take?
Depending on your requirements, you may be referred for a total knee replacement, in which both sides of the knee joint are replaced, or a partial knee replacement, in which only one side of the joint is replaced.
A total knee replacement will usually take an hour to 90 minutes. For the latter case, your procedure and subsequent stay in hospital will be shorter; however, your surgeon will advise you of this during your consultation.
3. Are there any risks or complications around knee surgery?
Knee replacement procedures are considered very safe and the chance of infection is typically less than 1%.
As with any surgery, there are possible risks associated with the operation, including possible side effects from anaesthesia or more general complications, such as:
- Nerve damage
- Blood clot
You can read the full list of risks in our patient guide to knee replacements.