North Hampshire Hospital
The Hampshire Clinic
Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK

Mr John Britton FRCS
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Information for patients undergoing orthopaedic treatment



Knee replacement

The Prosthesis
There are several types of knee replacement:

Total replacement:   The femur is resurfaced by a metal shell and this articulates with a plastic tray that is fixed to the tibia. The undersurface of the knee cap is often lined with a plastic button.

Unicompartmental replacement:  Only half of the knee is replaced. This type of replacement is suitable for cases where the arthritis is well localized.

Patello-femoral replacement:  Relatively rarely used this replacement resurfaces just the bearing between the patella (kneecap) and the femur.

The Surgery

Knee replacement is done under either a general or regional anaesthetic. An incision about 10 to 15 cm long is made over the front of the knee; the exact size and position of the incision depends on the type of replacement being implanted. The operation typically takes about 1 to 1 hours.

When you return to the ward you will have a 'drip' in your arm and may also have a drain coming out of your wound. Blood transfusion is required in only about 10% cases. You will be given painkillers to relieve any discomfort.

You will start walking within 12 to 24 hours of surgery. Initially you will require a frame but within a day or so you will be using crutches or sticks. You will be taught to climb stairs after 2 to 3 days. You will then be fit for discharge which usually occurs on the fourth or fifth postoperative day.

Outpatient physiotherapy will be arranged. You will be seen in clinic 6 weeks following surgery but should contact the hospital if you have any concerns before then.



J M Britton 2007

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