Conditions & treatments covered

We’re with you every step of the way


After your operation it can take a while to get back to your normal activities, especially if you play competitive sport, but we won’t leave you to struggle alone. Following any procedure at The Wellington Knee Unit, our multi-skilled team of physiotherapists and nurses are here to help, offering friendly practical advice along with a personalised rehabilitation programme. 

Knee arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery used by surgeons to find out what’s wrong with your knee and, in some cases, treat it at the same time.

Our team of surgeons at The Wellington Knee Unit use knee arthroscopy alongside traditional open surgery to treat some conditions including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, multi-ligament reconstruction and kneecap instability.

What is knee arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a type of ‘keyhole’ surgery where the surgeon uses a tiny camera to look inside your knee joint to find out exactly what’s wrong and, in many cases, treat it at the same time.

Why might I need knee arthroscopy?

Some conditions, such as signs of arthritis or damage to cartilage (the rubbery surface that protects the bone), can be difficult to spot using X-rays or other scans. So surgeons use arthroscopy to work out exactly what’s wrong with your knee when there’s no obvious reason why it’s painful or swollen.

What makes it better than traditional ‘open’ surgery?

Having open surgery means you may have to stay in hospital longer, with more recovery time and a greater chance of infection. Treatment with arthroscopy is quicker, easier, and safer, helping you get back to normal as soon as possible.

What conditions can be diagnosed and/or treated?

Surgeons use knee arthroscopy to diagnose and/or treat conditions including:

  • Meniscal injury: this is when the menisci, wedges of tough rubbery tissue inside the knee, are damaged. The menisci work a bit like shock absorbers, helping to protect your knee joint from jolts, vibrations, and sudden force when you walk or play sport. You can damage them if you fall over or twist your knee.

    If you damage your menisci, they may not heal by themselves so your surgeon may suggest ‘trimming back’ the damaged tissue using arthroscopy 
  • Articular cartilage injury/damagecartilage is the tough, rubbery tissue covering the ends of the bones in your knee joint. Normally, these smooth surfaces stop your bones from rubbing together. If they are damaged, your knee may feel painful and stiff, affecting the way you move. You may also find that your knee ‘clicks’ or ‘locks’, feeling as if it’s stuck

    Using arthroscopy, the surgeon can examine the joint and shave down any rough surfaces, removing loose fragments of bone so that your knee can work normally again
  • Cruciate ligament injury: ligaments are soft bands of tissue that hold your bones together, supporting your joints and stopping them from being moved out of place when you twist your knee. There are two ligaments between the bones of your knee joint; these are called the anterior (front) and posterior (back).

    Sportsmen and women often suffer damage to a cruciate ligament. If you twist your knee suddenly, and with more force than usual, it’s usually the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that’s affected. Your surgeon can use arthroscopy to find out exactly what’s happened and how to fix it. The good news is that, in some cases, the surgeon can also treat the problem at the same time
  • Arthritis: knee arthritis is caused by wear and tear to the surfaces of the joints. It’s more likely to affect you as you get older and is usually worse in areas where you’ve had an injury in the past. Using arthroscopy, the surgeon can see how much damage there is, and can do any work that’s necessary, for example washing out the joint or removing any loose bits of bone, to help reduce your pain
  • Biopsy: inside each joint there’s a lining of slippery tissue known as the synovium, which helps it to work smoothly. In some cases, the joint can become painful and/or swollen and your surgeon may use arthroscopy to take a tiny sample (biopsy) of the synovium. This can be sent off to a laboratory for tests to find out what’s wrong

Will I need any other tests/scans?

Most people who have a knee injury will be offered X-rays and MRI scans before they are given the option of arthroscopy. You can find out more about other tests you may need, and more information about surgery on this website. 

How will my knee arthroscopy be carried out?

  • In most cases, knee arthroscopy will be carried out while you are under a light anaesthetic. It’s normally a day case procedure, meaning you can go home the same day if you want to
  • During the procedure, your surgeon makes two small cuts (less than 1 cm long) in the front of your knee and inserts a thin metal tube (arthroscope) into the joint. The tube, which is about the size of a drinking straw, has a light and camera so the surgeon can clearly see any damage on a screen
  • During the same procedure, the surgeon can use tiny surgical tools to carry out any treatment that’s necessary
  • The procedure usually lasts 20-60 minutes, depending on what needs to be done
  • At the end of the procedure, the surgeon puts some extra anaesthetic into the joint to reduce knee pain when you wake up
  • There will be a small stitch to hold the cuts closed, with a waterproof dressing and bandaging on top to protect the knee from infection

What happens after the operation?

  • Before you go home, you’ll see one of our physiotherapists who can help you feel more comfortable using crutches and show you how to do some simple exercises as part of your rehabilitation programme. It’s really important to do the exercises, as it can make a big difference to how quickly you recover
  • You’ll also be given painkillers to take home. You should take these regularly to control any discomfort after your operation
  • We also recommend that, for a few days, you regularly put ice (crushed and wrapped in a towel) on the area around your knee to help reduce any swelling and pain
  • Before you leave the hospital, you’ll be given a follow-up appointment with your surgeon (usually around two weeks later) for a wound check and to remove your stitches 

Are there any risks from having knee arthroscopy?

The risks of having arthroscopy are less than having open surgery  but, as with all surgery, there are still some risks including:

  • Infection, either around the wound or inside the joint. You may be prescribed antibiotics to reduce this risk
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)a blood clot in the deep veins of your lower leg. The risk of this can be reduced if you follow your surgeon’s advice about taking regular gentle exercise after your arthroscopy (including the exercises recommended by your physiotherapist)

If you take the contraceptive pill or are on HRT, your surgeon may advise you to stop for 2 weeks before your procedure as hormonal medicines can also increase the risk of DVT

  • Bleeding inside the knee joint
  • Stiffness in the knee: taking regular gentle exercise after your procedure, including the exercises your physiotherapist has suggested, can help to reduce this. You should also take painkillers (and apply ice) as recommended

  • Longer term problems: unfortunately, no one can guarantee that you won’t have any more problems with your knee after your procedure. In rare cases, there may be damage to cartilage, ligaments, meniscus, blood vessels, or nerves in the knee. However, your surgeon will discuss all the options, and any risks, with you before you have the procedure

 

 

The menisci act like shock absorbers in your knee and can be injured when you play sport.

If you have a smartphone or tablet device, we can provide you with the MyRecovery™ smartphone app for patients having procedures for meniscal injuries. The app, exclusive to patients at The Wellington Knee Unit, was created by surgeons and offers you step-by-step help and advice before, during, and after you’ve had the procedure. It can also help you to track your own progress and set yourself achievable goals using your mobile device.

Meniscal injuries are a really common type of knee injury. They happen when the menisci, wedges of tough rubbery tissue inside the knee, are damaged.

 

What are the menisci?

The menisci work a bit like shock absorbers, spreading the load in your knee joint and helping to protect it from jolts, vibrations, and force when you walk or take part in sports. They also help keep your knee joint stable so that it doesn’t get damaged when you twist your knee.

How do meniscal injuries happen?

Although the menisci are soft and elastic, there is a limit to how much force or pressure they can cope with. Injuries in younger people often happen when the knee is violently twisted, tearing the meniscus. However, as we age, problems can be caused by wear and tear; this means the meniscus becomes weaker and is more likely to tear. Some older people can damage their menisci just by sitting with their knees flexed for long periods, for example on a flight.

Why might I need to have meniscal surgery?

In most cases, if you tear your meniscus it won’t get better by itself. You may have lots of pain and swelling, and other problems such as ‘clicking’. In some cases the joint can become ‘locked’ in one position for a while, feeling as if it’s stuck.

However, if your injury has been caused by wear and tear rather than an accident, our physiotherapists can design a personalised rehabilitation programme for you that may, in some cases, mean you can avoid the need for surgery.

If you already have arthritis in your knee joint, arthroscopy may not be as successful. Your surgeon will be able to advise you about this.

What is knee arthritis

Normally, the joints in the knee are covered with a smooth slippery surface called ‘articular cartilage’. As we age, or because of damage from an earlier accident, the articular cartilage in the joint can wear away, leaving rough areas that cause pain, swelling and deformity. This is known as osteoarthritis, or ‘arthritis’ for short. Arthritic joints can cause pain and stiffness, limiting your movement, and affecting your everyday life.

Will I need any tests or scans?

Most patients are offered X-rays and MRI scans to find out more about their injury before having surgery. You can find out more information about surgery on this website, including other tests you might be offered.

How is meniscal surgery carried out?

The most common way to treat meniscal problems is to remove the torn part of the meniscus using knee arthroscopy. In most cases, this means you can return to your everyday activities, including sport, without any more problems. The younger you are, the more likely it is that your operation will be a complete success.

Will there be any problems afterwards?

Having part of your meniscus removed, especially when you are young, can mean you have a slightly higher overall risk of developing arthritis in your knee joint later in life. The more of the meniscus that’s removed, the greater the risk.

However, if you already have arthritis, having meniscal surgery is unlikely to make your knee problems any worse. 

If I lose meniscus, is there anything that can be done to replace it?

At The Wellington Knee Surgery Unit we are able to offer our patients the latest techniques and treatments including ACTIfit ® , a synthetic ‘scaffold’ which helps new tissue to grow so that it can replace any meniscal tissue that’s been removed.

The ACL helps protect the bones in your knee from moving out of place. It’s often injured while you are playing sport.

If you have a smartphone or tablet device, we can provide you with the MyRecovery™ smartphone app for patients having ACL reconstruction. The app, exclusive to patients at The Wellington Knee Unit, was created by surgeons and offers you step-by-step help and advice before, during, and after you’ve had the procedure. It can also help you to track your own progress and set yourself achievable goals using your mobile device.

What is the ACL?

The ACL is a soft band of tissue at the front of your knee that holds it together and stops the bones from being moved out of place. Most injuries happen while you’re playing sport when the knee is suddenly twisted with more force than usual. Although you might not be in pain when it happens, you may hear a ‘popping’ sound and the injury may also damage other parts of your knee including the meniscus and articular cartilage. 

Why might I need to have ACL reconstruction surgery?

Not everyone who damages their ACL needs to have surgery. Some people find that wearing a knee brace and having physiotherapy – as soon after the accident as possible – along with a personalised rehabilitation programme is enough.

However, if your knee is unstable during everyday activities or when you’re playing sport, ACL reconstruction can help you get back to normal. Your surgeon will be able to advise you about which type of treatment is best for you.

Will I need any tests or scans?

Most patients are offered X-rays and MRI scans to find out more about their injury before they are offered surgery. You can find out more information about surgery on this website, including other tests you might be offered.

How is it ACL reconstruction surgery carried out?

ACL reconstruction surgery can repair the ligament so you can get back to normal as soon as possible. The procedure is normally carried out using keyhole surgery, known as knee arthroscopy. Surgery  involves using some of the tissue from your own tendon (autograft) or donated tendon tissue (allograft). Your surgeon will be able to advise you about which treatment option is best for you.

How long does it take to recover?

Everyone is different and recovery times vary from person to person. In most cases, we’d expect you to return to normal everyday activities by around six months onwards. However, in most cases, the success of your ACL reconstruction depends on how carefully you follow your post-operative rehabilitation programme. Your surgeon and physiotherapist will work with you to help set realistic goals, which can be supported by your smartphone App.

Will there be any problems afterwards?

All surgery carries a risk. As well as the usual risks from knee arthroscopy surgery , additional risks of ACL reconstruction include: 

  • Re-rupture/injury: it’s important to take extra care of the knee after you’ve had ACL reconstruction to avoid further damage
  • Numbness (neurological symptoms): some people are left with a numb area of skin on the inside of the shin after their procedure if tendons from that area have been used. This usually only lasts for a few weeks

 

Multi-ligament injuries, when more than one area of the knee joint is damaged, usually happen playing sport.

Multi-ligament injuries mean that more than one part of the knee is injured at the same time. Damage can include a rupture (tear), partial rupture, or strain to the:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
  • Medial (tibial) collateral ligament (MCL)
  • Lateral (fibular) collateral ligament (LCL)
  • Posterolateral corner (PLC)
  • Patella tendon (PT)
  • Quadriceps tendon (QT) 

How do multi-ligament injuries happen?

Most multi-ligament injuries happen during sport. The most serious type is a knee dislocation, which can damage blood vessels and nerves, and needs urgent treatment.

Why might I need to have surgery?

  • In some cases, multi-ligament injuries can be treated without surgery, by working with a physiotherapist on a personalised rehabilitation programme
  • However, if your knee is unstable, you will probably need to have surgery to rebuild the damaged areas.
  • Your surgeon will be able to advise you about which type of treatment is best for you

Will I need any tests or scans?

Most patients are offered X-rays and MRI scans to find out more about their injury before they are offered surgery. You can find out more information about surgery on this website, including other tests you might be offered.

How is multi-ligament surgery carried out?

Your surgeon will be able to discuss the type of surgery you need but if there’s a lot of damage to your knee, you may need to have more than one operation.

Usually, surgery can be carried out using knee arthroscopy but in some cases you may need to have open surgery.

Whichever type of treatment you have, our team at The Wellington Knee Unit will work with you to make sure you have the best chance of getting back to normal as soon as possible. This includes a personalised rehabilitation programme devised by our team of physiotherapists, all of whom specialise in treating knee injuries.

Kneecap instability is usually caused by an injury where your kneecap slips out of place.

Kneecap instability is when the kneecap keeps slipping out of place, (ie dislocating), either fully or partly, usually towards the outside of the knee.

Why does it happen?

  • Kneecap instability is normally caused by an injury. After it’s happened once, it’s easier for the knee cap to slip out of place again
  • In some cases, kneecap instability happens without an accident. This is more common if you have joint hypermobility (where all your joints have a greater range of movement than normal)
  • If your kneecap keeps dislocating it can not only be painful, but can damage the surrounding tissues, leading to long term (chronic) pain

Why might I need to have surgery?

  • In some cases, having physiotherapy can help and can mean you don’t need to have surger 
  • If your knee instability has been caused by an injury that’s dislocated your knee, you may need to have surgery, particularly if there is some loose bone or cartilage in the joint. This is usually carried out using knee arthroscopy
  • Your surgeon will be able to advise you about which type of treatment is best for you

Will I need any tests or scans?

Most patients are offered X-rays and MRI scans to find out more about their injury before they are offered surgery. You can find out more information about surgery on this website, including other tests you might be offered.

How is surgery carried out

Surgery is complicated and every case is different. Your surgeon will be able to discuss the type of treatment you need and how it can be carried out. However, in most cases, surgery for patella instability involves both arthroscopy and open surgery.

 

Partial knee replacement is when part of your knee is replaced, usually because you have arthritis in the joint.

Partial knee replacement (also called unicompartmental or unicondylar knee replacement) is when parts of the knee are replaced.

Our team of surgeons at the Wellington Knee Unit are at the forefront of innovation in the field of knee replacement surgery, and are involved in the research and design of new technologies to minimise pain and help you get back to your normal activities as quickly as possible.

Why might I need to have surgery?

  • Partial knee replacement is usually carried out if you have arthritis. Arthritis can cause pain, restricted movement and, in some cases, the knee joint can ‘lock’, feeling as if it’s stuck
  • If you’ve already tried other options such as physiotherapy and painkillers, having a partial knee replacement could be the best way to relieve your pain and improve your range of movement
  • Your surgeon will be able to tell you whether having a partial knee replacement will help make your symptoms better

What are the advantages compared with a total knee replacement?

The advantages of having a partial knee replacement over having a total knee replacement are:

  • You will have a faster recovery time
  • There is less pain after the surgery
  • There are fewer risks involved, (eg less blood loss)
  • The implants we use are the best in the world and are highly rated by the Orthopaedic Data Evaluation Panel, with documented track records of success

Will I need any tests or scans?

Most patients are offered X-rays and MRI scans to find out more about their injury before they are offered surgery. You can find out more information about surgery on this website, including other tests you might be offered.

How is partial knee replacement carried out?

  • The procedure – which takes one to two hours – is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic
  • The surgeon makes a small cut at the front of your knee and removes the worn areas of joint
  • An implant – made of metal and plastic – is fixed into place, using special bone cement
  • The surgeon checks that the joint moves easily and is stable
  • The surgeon closes the wound, and puts in a small drain to remove any fluid for the first day or so
  • The wound is dressed and bandaged

How long will I be in hospital?

You may need to stay in hospital for three to seven days and until you are confident using crutches to move around. After the operation, you’ll be given a blood test and X-rays to check everything is OK.

What happens afterwards?

  • Before you go home, one of our team of specially trained physiotherapists will be on hand to help you manage walking with crutches (including going up and down stairs)
  • They will also give you some exercises that will help speed up your recovery. It’s really important to do these exercises, as it can make a big difference to how quickly you recover
  • You’ll probably need to use your crutches for 4-6 weeks, depending on your progress
  • You can put some weight on your leg, as long as it’s not too painful
  • It’s normal for your knee to swell and bruise after surgery but this should gradually improve over the next few weeks
  • Your range of movement and ability to move about should also improve
  • You’ll also be prescribed painkillers to take home. We advise you to take these regularly to control any discomfort after your operation
  • We also recommend that, for a few days, you regularly put ice (crushed and wrapped in a towel) on the area around your knee to help reduce any pain and swelling
  • In most cases, you’ll also be prescribed medicine (an anti-coagulant) for 14 days after the procedure to stop your blood clotting and to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis
  • You’ll also be able to arrange a follow-up appointment with your surgeon (usually around two weeks later) for a wound check and to remove your stitches
  • After your follow-up appointment, we will usually suggest that you carry on having regular checks, including X-rays, for up to five years after your surgery. These are normally offered at:
    • 6 weeks (no X-ray required)
    • 6 months
    • 1 year
    • 2 years
    • 5 years
    • 10 years
    • Every 5 years after that

How long does it take to recover?

Total recovery time is usually four to six months. Your surgeon will be able to answer any questions about returning to normal activities, for example when you might be able to start driving again.

Are there any risks from having partial knee replacement surgery?

All surgery carries risks. However, risks that can affect you if you’ve had this type of surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Bleeding inside the knee joint
  • Stiffness in the knee
  • Loosening – the implant can become loose, either due to infection or over time. If this happens, it will need to be replaced
  • Longer term problems

Total knee replacement is usually carried out to relieve the pain caused by arthritis.

Our surgeons at the Wellington Knee Unit are at the forefront of innovation in the field of knee replacement surgery, and are involved in the research and design of new technologies to minimise pain and help you get back to normal as quickly as possible.

If you have a smartphone or tablet device, we can provide you with the MyRecovery™ smartphone app for patients having total knee replacement. The app, exclusive to patients at The Wellington Knee Unit, was created by surgeons and offers you step-by-step help and advice before, during, and after you’ve had the procedure. It can also help you to track your own progress and set yourself achievable goals using your mobile device.

 

What is total knee replacement?

As the name suggests, total knee replacement (TKR) is when the entire knee joint is replaced with artificial surfaces. 

Why might I need a TKR?

TKR is used to relieve arthritis.  The surgeon replaces the worn surfaces of the joint with artificial surfaces, and in doing so, relieves pain, swelling and stiffness, improves range of movement and function and corrects alignment. It’s a very successful treatment for most patients with knee arthritis that affects their everyday life.

  • If you’ve already tried other options such as physiotherapy and painkillers, having a TKR could be the best way to relieve your pain and improve your range of movement
  • Your surgeon will be able to tell you whether having the procedure will help make your symptoms better

Will I need any tests or scans?

Most patients are offered X-rays and MRI scans to find out more about their injury before they are offered surgery. You can find out more information about surgery on this website, including other tests you might be offered.

How is TKR surgery carried out?

  • The procedure – which takes one to two hours – is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic
  • The surgeon makes a small cut at the front of your knee and removes the worn areas of joint
  • An implant – made of metal and plastic – is fixed into place, using special bone cement
  • The implants we use are the best in the world and are highly rated by the Orthopaedic Data Evaluation Panel, with documented track records of success.
  • The surgeon checks that the joint moves easily and is stable
  • The surgeon closes the wound, and puts in a small drain to remove any fluid for the first day or so
  • The wound is dressed and bandaged

How long will I be in hospital?

You may need to stay in hospital for three to five days until you are confident using crutches to move around. After the operation, you’ll be given a blood test and X-rays to check everything is OK.

What happens afterwards?

  • Before you go home, one of our team of specially trained physiotherapists will be on hand to help you manage walking with crutches (including going up and down stairs)
  • They will also give you some exercises that will help speed up your recovery. It’s really important to do the exercises, as it can make a big difference to how quickly you recover
  • You’ll probably need to use your crutches for 4-6 weeks, depending on your progress
  • You can put some weight on your leg, as long as it’s not too painful
  • It’s normal for your knee to swell and bruise after surgery but this should gradually improve over the next few weeks
  • Your range of movement and ability to move about should also improve
  • You’ll also be prescribed painkillers to take home. It’s important to take these regularly to control any discomfort after your operation
  • We also recommend that, for a few days, you regularly put ice (crushed and wrapped in a towel) on the area around your knee to help reduce any pain and swelling
  • In most cases, you’ll also be prescribed medicine (an anti-coagulant) for 14 days after the procedure to stop your blood clotting and to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis
  • You’ll also be able to arrange a follow-up appointment with your surgeon (usually around two weeks later) for a wound check and to remove your stitches
  • After your follow-up appointment, we will usually suggest that you carry on having regular checks, including X-rays, for up to five years after your surgery. These are normally offered at:
    • 6 weeks (no X-ray required)
    • 6 months
    • 1 year
    • 2 year
    • 5 years
    • 10 years
    • Every 5 years after that

How long does it take to recover?

Total recovery time is usually four to six months. Your surgeon will be able to answer any questions about returning to normal activities, for example when you might be able to start driving again.

Are there any risks from having TKR?

All surgery carries risks. However, risks that can affect you if you’ve had this type of surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Bleeding inside the knee joint
  • Stiffness in the knee
  • Loosening
  • Longer term problems

Kneecap replacement relieves pain, swelling and stiffness caused by arthritis, relieving your pain and improving your range of movement

Our team of surgeons at the Wellington Knee Unit are at the forefront of innovation in the field of knee replacement surgery, and are involved in the research and design of new technologies to minimise pain and help you get back to normal activities as quickly as possible.

 

What is the kneecap?

The kneecap (patella) is a small bone at the front of your knee joint, where your thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) meet. It connects the muscles in the front part of your thigh to your shinbone, and protects the knee.

The kneecap joint is a bit like a hinge. It sits in a groove called the trochlear groove. Normally, these bones are covered with a smooth slippery surface called ‘articular cartilage’.

What is kneecap replacement surgery?

Kneecap replacement surgery is an alternative to partial knee replacement or total knee replacement, and can help you if you just have arthritis in your kneecap joint . However, this procedure is only suitable for around one in 40 people who have arthritis  that just affects this part of the knee. So, if your arthritis affects other parts of the knee as well, your surgeon may recommend a different procedure.

During the procedure, which is carried out under a general anaesthetic, the surgeon replaces the surface under the knee cap and the trochlear groove with artificial surfaces. By replacing just part of the joint, other parts that aren’t affected by arthritis can be left alone.

Why might I need to have kneecap replacement surgery?

  • Having arthritis in your knee joint causes pain at the front of your knee that’s usually worse when you go up or down stairs (or hills). It can also be particularly painful at night or when you are resting
  • If you’ve already tried other options such as physiotherapy and painkillers, having a kneecap replacement could be the best way to relieve your pain and improve your mobility
  • Your surgeon will be able to tell you whether having the procedure will help make your symptoms better

Will I need any tests or scans?

Most patients are offered X-rays and MRI scans to find out more about their injury before they are offered surgery. You can find out more information about surgery on this website, including other tests you might be offered.

How is kneecap replacement surgery carried out?

  • The procedure – which takes one to two hours – is usually carried out under a general anaesthetic
    • The surgeon makes a small cut at the front of your knee and removes the worn areas of joint
    • An implant – made of metal and plastic – is fixed into place, using special bone cement
    • The implants we use are the best in the world and are highly rated by the Orthopaedic Data Evaluation Panel, with documented track records of success
      • The surgeon checks that the joint moves easily and is stable
      • The surgeon closes the wound, and puts in a small drain to remove any fluid for the first day or so
      • The wound is stitched, dressed and bandaged

How long will I be in hospital?

You may need to stay in hospital for three to seven days until you are confident using crutches to move around. After the operation, you’ll be given a blood test and X-rays to check everything is OK.

What happens afterwards?

  • Before you go home, one of our team of specially trained physiotherapists will be on hand to help you manage walking with crutches (including going up and down stairs)
  • They will also give you an exercise programme to help speed up your recovery. It’s really important to do the exercises, as this can make a big difference to how quickly you recover
  • You’ll probably need to use your crutches for 4-6 weeks, depending on your progress
  • You can put some weight on your leg, as long as it’s not too painful
  • It’s normal for your knee to swell and bruise after surgery but this should gradually improve over the next few weeks as your mobility improves
  • Your range of movement and ability to move about should also improve
  • You’ll also be prescribed painkillers to take home. It’s a good idea to take these regularly to control any discomfort after your operation
  • We also recommend that, for a few days, you regularly put ice (crushed and wrapped in a towel) on the area around your knee to help reduce any pain and swelling
  • In most cases, you’ll also be prescribed medicine (an anti-coagulant) for 14 days after the procedure to stop your blood clotting to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis
  • You’ll also be able to arrange a follow-up appointment with your surgeon (usually around two weeks later) for a wound check and to remove your stitches
  • After your follow-up appointment, we will usually suggest that you carry on having regular checks, including X-rays, for up to five years after your surgery. These are normally offered at:
    • 6 weeks (no X-ray required)
    • 6 months
    • 1 year
    • 2 year
    • 5 years
    • 10 years
    • Every 5 years after that

How long does it take to recover?

Total recovery time is usually three to six months. Your surgeon will be able to answer any questions, for example when you might be able to start driving again.

Are there any risks from having kneecap replacement surgery?

All surgery carries risks. However, risks that can affect you if you’ve had this type of surgery include:

  • Infection
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Bleeding inside the knee joint
  • Stiffness in the knee
  • Loosening
  • Longer term problems