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Do I need knee replacement surgery?

Treatment for knee pain

As you get older, different types of arthritis and injury can increase the likelihood of experiencing knee pain. This can affect your general mobility and can make you feel very uncomfortable. If your knee joint lining is badly damaged or worn by arthritis, you may need knee replacement surgery.

At Benenden Hospital, we recognise how knee joint pain can negatively impact your daily life: from lack of sleep to difficulty working or exercising which can all contribute to affecting your mental wellbeing too. Our team of highly skilled Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons put their patients at the heart of everything they do and are here to help you get back on your feet again.

What are the different types of arthritis?

Knee osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for needing knee replacement surgery. This occurs when the cartilage wears down and the bones within the joint rub against each other. A few of the early symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are stiffness especially in the morning, pain on undertaking some types of activity and swelling. Later symptoms involve pain when resting or at night, deformity of the knee and difficulty walking.

If you work in the trades, such as carpentry, floor or carpet laying, gardening or construction and do a lot of kneeling, stair climbing, crawling and bending, you are more at risk of developing osteoarthritis in your knees.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, where the body’s immune system affects the knee joint lining and Traumatic arthritis, caused by a serious knee injury, are also reasons as to why you may require knee replacement surgery.

However, surgery won't be offered until non-surgical treatments have been tried. These immediate solutions are rest, elevation, physiotherapy, weight loss, anti-inflammatory drugs, strapping and placing an ice pack on the knee. If, after trying these surgical alternatives, no improvement in pain reduction or mobility is seen, then your Consultant will request scans and then could suggest you undergo knee replacement surgery.

What are the different types of knee replacement surgery?

There are three different types of knee replacement surgeries: partial knee replacement, total knee replacement (TKR) or constrained TKR.

Total knee replacement surgery replaces your damaged knee joint with an artificial joint. A partial knee replacement, also known as an unicompartmental knee replacement, replaces only part of your knee with an artificial joint.

To fix the new knee to the bone, either uncemented or cemented replacements are used. Uncemented replacements rely on the body to grow bone into the knee replacement. After around nine months to a year, the knee is fixed strongly to the bone. A cemented replacement will be as strong as it’s going to be by the time the operation is finished.

How long does it take to recover from knee replacement surgery?

After undergoing your knee replacement surgery, you are likely to spend a couple of nights in our clean, comfortable hospital ward although sometimes it is possible to go home more quickly.

During your stay at Benenden Hospital, you’ll be cared for by our caring and skilled nursing team. In addition to this, you'll be assessed by our Physiotherapy team who will help you to start moving again through a carefully planned exercise programme.

When it’s safe for you to return home, we’ll provide a frame or elbow crutches. This will help you become confident with mobilisation in the early days of your recovery. After just one week most of our patients can walk independently with sticks.

After three months, we’ll invite you back for a post-surgery assessment to track your progress. The recovery time from knee replacement surgery can take up to six months but overall, the results can be life changing and you’ll be able to resume your daily activities!

When can I return to work after knee replacement surgery?

Most people will need about 6-12 weeks off work. If your job requires a lot of standing or manual handling, you’ll probably need to be off work for three months, unless you’re able to do light duties – in which case you may be able to go back sooner.

If your work involves lots of kneeling, it may take longer. Not all knee replacements are comfortable to kneel on and you may only be able to kneel for short periods of time.

Knee replacement surgery at Benenden Hospital

If you have any questions regarding knee replacement surgery and the different options available, contact us using our online enquiry form or Livechat or by calling our Private Patient Team on 01580 363158. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Published on 02 September 2021