At Nuffield Health Brentwood Hospital our expert orthopaedic surgeons specialise in knee replacement surgery and can provide you with a treatment plan which is individually personalised to you, and the severity of your knee condition.
What happens during knee replacement surgery?
- Knee replacement surgery is normally performed under general anaesthetic
- During the operation, your whole existing knee joint is replaced with a new prosthetic
- The procedure normally takes between 1 – 2 hours
- Your orthopaedic surgeon will make an incision at the front of your knee where the replacement will be inserted
- Usually, you will stay in hospital for 2-4 days, but you may have to stay longer if necessary.
After knee surgery
- Once your operation is over, you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you will wake from the anaesthetic
- Your wound, blood pressure and pulse will be checked carefully
- You will have a large dressing covering your wound
- You may have a small tube coming out of your wound – this is to drain away any excess fluid from the inside of the wound
- You may also have a drip (infusion) going into your arm. This will keep you hydrated until you are able to drink, and can also be used to give you pain relief
- When you are stable and comfortable, a nurse will take you back to your private hospital room.
Getting up for the first time
- We understand that you may be anxious or worried about getting up, but we will do all we can to help and reassure you
- A member of our Healthcare Team will be there to help you, whenever you are ready
- The reason for getting you moving is to improve your circulation and avoid stiffness
- You may be feeling tender and sore, but you can get pain relief medication to deal with any discomfort – just ask one of the nurses if you have any pain
- Once out of bed, you will continue to wear support stockings to help your circulation
- The physiotherapists will work with you during your stay to help give you the best start with your new joint. Our physiotherapists specialise in orthopaedic aftercare and work closely with our orthopaedic surgeons to get you back to your feet.
Going home after your surgery
- Before being discharged you will have an X-ray of your new knee to check its position. Your physiotherapist will give you some exercises to help get your new knee moving
- These are important to help you make a good recovery
- The physiotherapist will also show you how to walk up and down stairs and make sure you are confident at doing this before you go home
- You won’t be able to drive, so you will need someone to come and take you home from the hospital
- When you go home, you may need some help with shopping and household chores
- It’s a good idea to arrange for someone to stay with you – or at least look in on you daily for at least a week
- It’s usual to return to see your consultant as an outpatient after your operation
- You may need to have stitches removed. You’ll be given information about these appointments before you go home
- We’ll give you some pain relief medication to take with you
- When you get home you will be tired for several weeks and should rest
- However, it’s also important to aim to gradually increase your physical activity each day, so you should continue with the exercises the physiotherapist showed you
- You will need to keep using crutches or a walking stick for a while
- To help you manage and increase mobility it’s recommended that you take any pain relief medication we have prescribed
- Continue taking this until you are pain free.
So you don’t damage your new knee and to help your wound heal well, please:
- Take showers instead of a bath
- Keep wearing your support stockings – you may have to do so for 4 – 6 weeks.
Getting back to normal after your procedure
- It is important to understand that everyone heals differently
- You will continue to improve over the next 6 to 12 months
- Your scar should fade to a thin white line
- Depending on what type of job you do, you should be able to return to work within 12 weeks
- You may want to think about a phased return to work
- After your follow-up visit with your surgeon you should be released to drive, but only if you can comfortably operate the pedals and control your car in all situations. This includes an emergency stop
- If you are in any doubt about your insurance cover, it’s best to contact your insurance company.
Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following knee replacement. As with any surgery there can be complications:
- Infection of the surgical site (incision)
- Blood clots (DVT – deep vein thrombosis)
- Difficulty passing urine
- Chest infection
- Heart attack
Risks specific to knee replacement surgery are:
- Numbness on the outside of the knee caused by a nerve being cut during surgery
- Stiffness – there may need to be further, minor surgery to improve this
- Pain when kneeling
- Bleeding around the joint – this usually settles but may need to be drained by a surgeon
- Fluid build-up around the joint
- Rejection of the prosthesis
- Infection in the joint.
Contact us at Nuffield Health Brentwood Hospital to book an appointment with one of our Consultants. Tel: 01277 886 702
For further information or to read more on this subject visit our website on www.nuffieldhealth.com