Total Knee Replacement

What is a Total Knee Replacement? 

A total knee replacement, involves applying a new surface to the femur and tibia, and sometimes the patella (kneecap).

 

Often there is quite a deformity of the knee joint at the time of surgery. The natural anatomy of the leg is used to plan and restore the mechanical alignment of the knee joint during surgery.

 

Mr Westerman uses the Nexgen Total Knee Replacement, which has very good long term survival results.

 

What are the potential benefits of knee replacement surgery?

 

The main objective is to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life. Often the knee is quite stiff at the time of surgery. Mr Westerman aims to restore your range of movement.

 

The team will aim to get you out of bed and standing on the leg as soon as possible, on the same day as the operation.

 

You will be able to safely put your full weight through the knee, immediately following surgery.

 

The knee can become quite inflamed following surgery. It can take a few weeks for this to settle down, but it is essential the knee is kept moving even when it is uncomfortable. You will be provided with an ice pack (cryo cuff) to use regularly and help reduce the swelling

 

What are the risks of surgery? 

 

Thankfully total knee replacements are very successful. However potential complications must be considered. Specifically high risks will be discussed during your consultation.

However it is important to be aware:

  • Blood loss could be enough to require a transfusion, but this is not common. 

  • Infection risk is low, but possible for all operations, despite our obsessional precautions.

  • Nerve Injury. Almost every patient will have a small 50p coin size patch of numbness on the outside of the knee.

The peroneal nerve runs very close to the side of the knee. It can very rarely be damaged, which might result in temporary or permanent numbness to the lower leg and a reduction of foot control, requiring the use of a light weight splint.

  • Blood clots are always a concern and can even be fatal. We aim to get you mobile very quickly, to get the circulation flowing. We will provide you with injections to thin your blood.

  • Stiffness is a particular problem following Knee Replacement surgery. It is very important that we get your knee moving early on, in order to achieve excellent results.

  • Persistent Symptoms. 

- Approximately 50% of people will find it too uncomfortable to kneel directly on the knee following surgery. 

- Approximately 10% of patients still have some symptoms following their knee replacement surgery. For the majority of these people, they still have an improvement, but these numbers do need to be borne in mind.

  • Failure. The 15-20 year survival for modern knee replacements is very good, however it is a mechanical object, so will slowly try to work loose over time.