Knee Replacement

There are various types of knee replacement your surgeon will choose the most suitable for you.   A total knee replacement resurfaces the whole of your knee. This is the most common operation as more than one area of the knee is usually damaged.  The kneecap may or may not be re-surfaced depending on the operative findings.   

A partial knee replacement will only work for patients with arthritis in one part of the knee. They are not an option if you have inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, If the damaged area is more extensive, or if your knee has become very stiff. 

A partial knee replacement resurfaces either:

  • The inner or outer half of the knee
  • The joint between the thigh bone and knee cap.

Knee Replacement Information

A knee replacement is a major operation and usually takes approximately two hours.   You are usually in hospital for one to two nights. You should be prepared to work hard at the exercises given to you by the therapy staff.  Before your surgery you will meet your anaesthetist, they will ask you questions about your health and previous anaesthetics,  You will need to sign a consent form where the consultant will go through the operation with you and  the risks of surgery.  You will be measured for compression stocking before theatre and will need to wear these all the time unless you are instructed otherwise.  These compression stocking help reduce the risk of blood clots.

Types of anaesthesia during surgery

There are two types of anaesthesia, general anaesthesia and local anaesthesia. They are often combined.

General Anaesthesia

For knee replacements it is uncommon for general anaesthesia to be used alone.  It is usually combined with a spinal anaesthetic or nerve block.  On occasions a deep sedation technique may be used instead of a general anaesthetic. Side effects and risks of anaesthetic will be discussed with you by the anaesthetist.

Local anaesthesia

Are drugs having a numbing effect, they stop you feeling pain and other sensations in part of your body, but on their own do not cause any loss of consciousness.  Types include the following :

  • Spinal anaesthetic
  • Epidural

Pain Control after Knee Replacement

We aim for your pain to be at an acceptable level to allow you to move around after your surgery.  The nursing team will be able to give you advice and support about pain relief there are many different forms and strengths of pain relief available

Following a knee replacement on the ward

  • Regular observations and pain relief
  • You will be encouraged to eat and drink
  • A physiotherapist will see you and start your exercise regime.
  • You will be assessed and may be helped out of bed to sit in a chair.
  • Wound dressing will be checked
  • Laxatives will be given as the pain medication may make you constipated.
  • blood test and an x-ray will be taken
  • If you have them drains or catheters will be removed.
  • Physiotherapy will continue throughout your stay, and you will be encouraged to walk with help.
  • Clexane injections (Blood thinner) will be given to help prevent blood clots. You will also be shown how to administer these injections before being discharged, as you will need to continue them upon discharge.
  • You will need to do the stairs with the physiotherapist and they will need to be happy with your mobility before discharged.
  • On discharge you will be sent home with the medication you need, and all the relevant information.