Knee and Hip Procedures

Knee Replacement Operation

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What's involved in knee replacement surgery?

A knee replacement is an operation to replace the damaged or worn parts of the thigh and shin bones which form the knee joint. During a knee replacement operation, the damaged or worn parts  are replaced with metal and plastic parts that glide over each other smoothly.

During the operation, a single incision (usually 15 to 30cm long) is made down the front of the knee. The kneecap is moved to one side so the joint can be reached. When the joint has been replaced, the incision is closed with stitches or clips.

A knee replacement usually takes one to two hours and normally requires a hospital stay of up to five nights.

How long does it take to recover from a knee replacement?

While you are in hospital, a physiotherapist will visit you every day to guide you through exercises to help you recover. You will be encouraged to move your new knee from the first day after the operation. You will be discharged once you can walk safely with sticks or crutches - usually after 3-5 days.

How long does an artificial knee joint or knee replacement last?

An artificial joint will usually last for at least ten years, after which it may need to be replaced. Your surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of having your knee replaced, and will also discuss the alternatives to the procedure.

Knee Arthroscopy Surgery

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What is a knee arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a “keyhole” operation that is used to look inside and treat joints, especially the knee joint. It is performed through very small cuts in the skin, using a narrow, tube-like telescope called an arthroscope.

Arthroscopy is useful for finding out what is causing symptoms, to deliver treatment for conditions such as arthritis and inflammation, to take small samples of tissue, or to repair damage to tissues and cartilage. The procedure is usually done as a day-case.

Arthroscopy knee surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia, which means that you will be asleep during the procedure, or for some patients, epidural or spinal anaesthesia is preferable. This will completely block the feeling in your legs but you stay awake. Your surgeon and anaesthetist will discuss with you which type of anaesthesia is most suitable in your case.

Your surgeon will also explain the benefits and risks of having a knee arthroscopy, and will discuss the alternatives to the procedure.

About the knee arthroscopy operation

Your surgeon will make two small cuts (about 5mm long) in the skin around the knee joint. The first cut is used to pump sterile fluid into the joint to help produce a clearer picture. The second cut is used to insert the arthroscope.

Your surgeon will view the joint, by looking directly through the arthroscope, or at pictures it sends to a video screen. If necessary, other instruments can be inserted to repair any damage or remove material that interferes with movement or causes pain in the knee.

Afterwards, the fluid is drained out and the cuts are closed with stitches or adhesive strips. Then a dressing and a bandage is wrapped around the knee. An arthroscopy can take from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on how much work your surgeon needs to do inside the joint.

Before you go home, a physiotherapist will also visit you to guide you through exercises to get your joint moving.

Following your operation, you are likely to have some pain, stiffness and swelling around the joint, which may last a few weeks. Gentle knee exercises will help reduce stiffness and discomfort.

Arthroscopy is a commonly performed and generally safe surgical procedure. For most people, the benefits in terms of improved symptoms, or from having a clear diagnosis of a joint problem, are greater than the disadvantages. However, all surgery carries an element of risk.

Specific complications of arthroscopy could include accidental damage to the inside of the joint or a loss of feeling in the skin over the knee. Uncommonly, it’s also possible to develop a blood clot in the veins of one of your legs (deep vein thrombosis, DVT).

The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. Ask your surgeon to explain in more detail how any risks apply to you.

Knee Ligament Surgery

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What is knee ligament surgery?

Knee ligament surgery, including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, is usually performed to repair damage caused by an injury. In the operation a graft is taken from another part of your knee, or in some cases from a donor or made from a synthetic material, and is fixed in place of the affected ligaments.

Why do people choose to have knee ligament surgery?

Tearing the anterior cruciate ligaments can be a fairly common sporting injury, causing swelling, restricted movement and pain. Depending on a number of factors, including how much pain you are experiencing, surgery may be the best option for recovery.

If you choose a Spire Healthcare hospital you will be treated by an experienced surgeon who will discuss your available options (including any alternatives to surgery) before agreeing the best course of treatment for you.

What happens in knee ligament surgery?

Knee ligament repair is usually performed through keyhole surgery and under general anaesthetic. Keyhole surgery is carried out with the use of specially designed instruments which are inserted through small incisions, with the added benefit that this less invasive work generally involves a shorter recovery time.

During the knee ligament operation, special cameras will be inserted through the incisions to enable your surgeon to get a clear picture of the knee area. The torn ligaments are then trimmed and the knee is prepared for the replacement graft. The graft is shaped and fixed in place, and the incisions are closed with stitches or adhesive strips.

Knee ligament operation aftercare

After the operation it is likely that you will experience some pain, stiffness, swelling and bruising around your treated knee. This is completely normal and should last a few weeks, gradually improving as your knee heals.

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction is a commonly performed and generally safe operation. For most people, the benefits in terms of improved symptoms are much greater than the disadvantages.

The chance of complications depends on the exact type of operation you are having and other factors such as your general health. Ask your surgeon to explain in more detail how any risks apply to you

Hip Replacement Surgery

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What is hip replacement surgery?

Hip replacement surgery is an operation to replace a damaged or worn hip joint with an artificial version. It is regarded as a long term solution for joint pain and immobility and is often the most effective treatment.

Why do hips need replacing?

The hip is a “ball and socket” joint which is susceptible to wear and damage. This can be caused by various forms of arthritis (most commonly osteoarthritis), bone diseases, bone abnormalities, and injury.

Why do people choose hip replacement surgery?

Due to the nature of the hip joint, damage and wear will not improve over time but will usually deteriorate. A hip replacement operation to alleviate pain and increase joint movement may therefore be the best treatment option. However, the decision to have the procedure is solely yours.

A hip replacement operation may be worthwhile for you if:

  • You suffer from severe pain
  • The pain and lack of mobility is diminishing your quality of life and leaves you feeling depressed
  • The pain and lack of mobility leave you unable to have a social life, work or complete everyday tasks
  • Medications and treatments that you have tried have failed or cause severe side effects

Benefits of hip replacement surgery

The most common benefits that patients report after the operation are:

  • Reduced pain
  • Improved mobility
  • Improved movement of the joint
  • Improvement to their quality of life

What happens in a hip replacement operation?

In the hip joint, the ball is formed by the top of the thigh bone (femur), whilst the socket is part of the pelvis. In the operation, your surgeon will remove the top part of the thigh bone, replacing it with a ball on a stem, which is inserted into the centre of the thigh bone. A plastic or metal cup will often be used to replace the socket.

Some patients choose to receive a general anaesthetic before the operation, so that they are asleep for the duration of the procedure. A hip replacement can also sometimes be performed under regional anaesthetic. The operation usually lasts two hours.

Hip replacement aftercare

After surgery, you will be required to stay in hospital for two to five nights. Your hip is likely to be sore for several weeks; however this should ease as the area heals. Hip replacement surgery is considered a generally safe surgical procedure, which, for most, has benefits that outweigh the risks. Your surgeon will explain any risks of a hip replacement and how they apply to you.