General FAQs Who Requires Knee Replacement? If you have osteoarthritis and other treatments have not improved your level of pain, stiffness and functional ability, so you are struggling to perform even basic activities, you are a suitable candidate for knee replacement surgery. However, if you are under the age of 50, surgery is a less viable option owing to the fact that artificial joints wear out and you would likely need another joint replacement during your lifetime. That said, if you are a younger patient and joint replacement is the only option left, advances in artificial joints now mean that they are harder wearing, so an appropriate prosthetic would be selected for you.
Will I Receive a Partial or Total Knee Replacement? A partial knee replacement is ideal if you have osteoarthritis localised to one area of your knee, allowing you to just replace the damaged part of the knee, offering a quicker recovery than with total knee replacement. However, partial joint replacement is more effective if you are older, have a lower body weight and are less active. This is because partial knee replacements wear out more quickly, so carrying extra weight or being active hastens this process. Meanwhile, a total joint replacement at your knee is necessary if you have widespread osteoarthritis at your knee-joint and it is more also suitable if you are a younger patient.
Who Needs Hip Replacement Surgery? As with partial and total knee replacement, you will need an artificial hip-joint if more conservative measures are unable to control your osteoarthritis. Sometimes a hip replacement is also advisable if an injury or tumour caused significant damage at your hip-joint.
What Does Joint Replacement Surgery Involve? Firstly, you will receive either a general or spinal anaesthetic to make sure that you feel no pain during the procedure. An incision is then made in front of your knee or hip-joint, allowing removal of the damaged area of your joint. After this, the remaining bone surface is shaped to accommodate the artificial joint, which is attached to your bones using a specialist cement; certain prosthetics don't need any cement, as their material allows the existing bone to fuse with them as it grows. You will be given pain relief after the hip or knee replacement procedure and you will start a course of physiotherapy to aid your recovery and strengthen your new joint.
Do the Benefits of Joint Replacement Outweigh the Risks? After receiving an artificial knee or hip-joint, you will notice a great reduction in pain, while your mobility, function and quality of life will all improve. Although all operations carry some degree of risk, with knee and hip replacement procedures measures are taken to reduce the risk of infections, blood clots and poor performance of the replacement joint. As a result, the benefits far outweigh the risks, and your suitability for the operation is assessed to make sure that the procedure doesn't carry any particular risk given your own medical history.
What Are the Barriers to Knee or Hip Replacement Surgery? If you are significantly overweight, you will usually be asked to lose weight before consideration for joint replacement surgery. This relates to the fact that extra weight hastens the wear of your new joint and the risks during the operation and recovery period are greater when you are overweight. However, certain medical conditions may also contraindicate hip or knee replacement surgery. For instance, extensive vascular disease, certain neurological conditions and any health problems that place you at high risk under anaesthetic may prevent you receiving a joint replacement.
Who Needs ACL Reconstruction Surgery? If you completely rupture your anterior cruciate ligament, it won't heal. Particularly if you are physically active, take part in sport or you have knee instability, ACL reconstruction is advisable to restore stability to your knee and reduce the likelihood of further knee injuries. A tendon from your quadriceps or hamstring will usually replace your ACL during the procedure, after which a regime of physio will aid your full recovery.
Who Needs Meniscal Tear Surgery? Although outer meniscal tears may heal by themselves, larger tears and those in the inner zone typically require surgical intervention; this is also the case if you are particularly active. Your torn meniscus is trimmed and repaired with the help of an arthroscope, which is inserted through a small incision in your knee, allowing complete recovery within 6 weeks.