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Knee replacement (total)

Why do I need a knee replacement?

If you have severe pain, stiffness and disability, a knee replacement should reduce your pain and help you to walk more easily.

What are the benefits of surgery?

You should get less pain and be able to walk more easily.

Are there any alternatives to a total knee replacement?

  • Simple painkillers such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen can help control the pain. Supplements to your diet may also help relieve your symptoms. Check with your doctor before you take supplements.
  • Using a walking stick can make walking easier. Wearing an elasticated support on your knee can help it feel stronger.
  • Regular moderate exercise can help to reduce stiffness in your knee. Physiotherapy may help to strengthen your muscles.
  • A steroid injection into your knee joint can sometimes reduce pain and stiffness.
  • All these measures become less effective if your arthritis gets worse.

What does the operation involve?

The operation usually takes an hour to 90 minutes. Various anaesthetic techniques are possible.

Your surgeon will make a cut on the front of your knee and remove the damaged joint surfaces. They will replace these with an artificial knee joint made of metal, plastic or ceramic, or a combination of these materials (see figure 1).

Your knee replacement is fixed to the bone using acrylic cement or special coatings on your knee replacement that bond directly to the bone.

What complications can happen?

Complications of anaesthesia

Your anaesthetist will be able to discuss with you the possible complications of having an anaesthetic.

General complications

  •     Pain
  •     Bleeding
  •     Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  •     Unsightly scarring
  •     Blood clots
  •     Difficulty passing urine
  •     Chest infection
  •     Heart attack
  •     Stroke

Specific complications

  •     Split in the bone when the knee replacement is inserted
  •     Damage to nerves
  •     Damage to blood vessels
  •     Damage to ligaments or tendons
  •     Infection in the knee
  •     Loosening
  •     Dislocation
  •     Continued discomfort in the knee
  •     Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the knee (complex regional pain syndrome)

How soon will I recover?

  • You should be able to go home after two to three days.
  • To reduce the risk of a blood clot, make sure you follow the instructions of the healthcare team carefully.
  • You will need to use crutches or walking sticks for a few weeks.
  • Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
  • Most people make a good recovery, have less pain and can move about better. An artificial knee never feels quite the same as a normal knee. Kneeling down is not recommended and is usually uncomfortable.
  • A knee replacement can wear out with time. You should have an x-ray of your knee replacement at least every five years to check for any problems.

This procedure is available to NHS, self funding and privately insured patients at The Horder Centre.

To make private healthcare more accessible, we have introduced a finance option so that patients can spread the cost of their treatment over a period of time. 
0% Finance available. For more information about our finance options please click here.

Guide price for self pay patients

Total prosthetic replacement of knee joint, with or without cement

  Consultation Diagnostics Treatment Care after discharge
Hospital costs Included £350 £9780 Included
Consultant costs £220 Included Included Included
Estimated total cost £10,350
Estimated length of stay 3 nights

The guide price is correct as of 2nd March 2017

What's included

The prices in the table above (the “Guide Prices”) show what most patients should expect to pay at each appointment and on admission to hospital. The Guide Prices you pay might be different depending on your medical history and the type of implant you choose or your Consultant advises is best for you. Your price quotation will be made clear to you before you proceed with any tests, consultations or treatment.

For more information please contact our Private Patient Pathway Manager on 01892 620934 or email for a personalised quote and further details on procedures available.


Author: Mr Stephen Milner DM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)
Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art.

Copyright © 2016 EIDO Healthcare Limited - The operation and treatment information on this webpage is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Horder Healthcare.

The intellectual property rights to the information belong exclusively to EIDO Healthcare Limited. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace any advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Issued July 2016 | Expires end of May 2017

Healthy eating

Exercise & fitness


What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a group of conditions that cause damage to one or more joints.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, where there is gradual wear and tear of a joint. Some other types of arthritis are associated with inflammation of the joints.

Arthritis eventually wears away the normal cartilage covering the surface of the joint and the bone underneath becomes damaged. This causes pain and stiffness in the joint.

Patient Stories: David Tutt

Knee replacement

David was finding it difficult to walk before a knee replacement operation at The Horder Centre.

Read Davids story here.

To find other patient stories, click here

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