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Our knees are vital to how we live and, once they become damaged, even doing the smallest thing can be painful. Knee replacement surgery could help to take the pain out of your knees and let you get back to living life to the fullest. It’s a common procedure with over 70,000 performed every year in the UK.

Why you might need it

Our knees are vital to how we move, but the pressures we put on them in everyday life and the impact of certain diseases or an injury can mean they become painful, stiff or swollen. This can affect our mobility and prevent us from leading full lives.

Your doctor may have suggested that you consider this procedure because you:

  • can’t move around enough to have a normal working or social life
  • have severe pain, swelling and stiffness which affects your quality of life and sleep
  • have knee pain which affects your ability to do everyday tasks such as cleaning, driving, shopping and getting in and out of the bath.

Knee replacement surgery replaces the damaged or worn parts of the thigh and shin bones which form the knee joint. During the operation, the damaged or worn parts are replaced with metal and plastic parts that glide over each other smoothly. The average recovery time is about six months.

If you decide to have your procedure with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.

Anyone in need of a knee replacement may be a potential candidate for a Mako robot-assisted partial knee procedure. Whilst some patients will of course require a total knee replacement, the robot-assisted procedure opens the door for some patients to the less invasive partial knee replacement procedure. Find out more about the benefits of robot-assisted surgery.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

In addition to traditional knee replacement surgery, seven consultants are fully trained in performing partial knee replacement procedures with the robot-assisted system. This is the first time the technology is available in Scotland. The team are proud to bring the technology to self-pay and insured patients in Scotland and further afield.

If you’d like check if robot-assisted surgery would benefit you, call us on 0131 316 2507.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Robot-assisted knee replacement surgery

Your consultant may advise that robot-assisted surgery is a good option for treating your knee condition. Before surgery, you would have a 3D CT scan of the hip which is loaded onto the Mako system allowing the robot to build a complete picture of the hip joint. A pre-operative plan is then devised, allowing the surgeon to select a suitable implant in advance.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

Two or three weeks before your operation you will be asked to attend a pre-admission clinic for a blood pressure check and routine blood and urine tests. A nurse or physiotherapist will talk to you about your needs at home, so that any necessary arrangements can be planned before you go into hospital.

The procedure

We understand that having surgery can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.

During a knee replacement, the damaged or worn parts of the thigh and shin bones, which form the knee joint, are replaced with metal and plastic parts that glide over each other smoothly when you move or bend your knee. The operation itself usually takes one to two hours.

You will probably have a general anaesthetic so you will be asleep during this time. However, a few patients are given an epidural or spinal anaesthesia. If your consultant suggests this is the best option, you will remain awake but will be sedated and have no feeling in your legs.

Your surgeon will then make one cut into the skin around your knee. Usually this is 15-30cm long. The doctor will then move the kneecap to one side so he or she can reach the joint and replace it with an artificial one. Prior to treatment, you and your surgeon will have discussed the best type of implant for you.

Your care team will then close the initial cut by using stitches or clips and your knee will be tightly bandaged to help minimise swelling. Fine plastic drainage tubes may also be left in for up to 48 hours.

You will need to stay in hospital until you can walk safely with the aid of sticks or crutches. Usually this means a hospital stay of between three to five days. If you have a partial knee replacement you will probably be able to leave hospital more quickly.

How robot-assisted surgery differs from traditional knee replacement surgery

Using the information retrieved from the CT scan you will have before surgery and using special trackers, the robot can alter the position of the implant during surgery, which cannot be done using traditional methods. The cuts made by the robot to remove the damaged section of the hip are much more accurate than those made manually. The robotic arm guides and aids the surgeon with pinpoint accuracy, detecting healthy and diseased tissue, guiding the implant into the perfect position and enabling tailor-made operations for patients.

Aftercare

After your operation, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.

While you are in hospital a physiotherapist will help you every day with exercises that will help speed up your recovery.


Pain relief

You will most likely feel some pain and swelling in your knees immediately following your surgery. 

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, for up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.


Recovery time

For the first day or so, you may have a compression pump attached to special pads on your lower legs. By inflating the pads, the pump encourages healthy blood flow and helps to prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis or blood clots). Afterwards, you may also have compression stockings on your legs.

Some people are able to walk on the same day of their operation but you will initially experience discomfort when walking and exercising. However, we are all different and our recovery times and the speed with which we can return to everyday activities will vary.

After about six months, your knees should have healed.


How your loved ones can help

Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive for a few weeks.

You may be asked to wear compression stockings for several weeks at home. These are difficult to put on and take off, and you'll need someone to help. You'll be able to move around your home and manage stairs, but may find that some routine daily activities, such as shopping, are difficult for a few weeks and you’ll need some help with light errands.


Looking after you

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After a knee replacement, we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, physiotherapy exercises, advice on what to do and not to do with your knee and follow-up medical support.

Typically your consultant will want to see you after your treatment to see how you’re doing and an appointment will be made for you before you leave the hospital.

On rare occasions, complications following a knee replacement can occur. The chance of complications depends on the exact procedure you are having and other factors such as your general health. You should ask your surgeon to explain how these risks apply to you.

If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.

The aftercare for a robot-assisted knee replacement is similar to traditional knee replacement. Spire Murrayfield's physiotherapy team will spend time developing and demonstrating a bespoke recovery plan for your individual needs and your consultant will stay in regular contact until you are fully recovered.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

The key benefits of robot-assisted surgery for this type of procedure are:

  • You could return to normal activities much sooner
  • The accuracy of the Mako robotic arm improves alignment of the implant and allows for adjustments mid-operation, customising the procedure for each individual
  • It allows the surgeon to preserve healthy bone and tissue by removing only the diseased parts
  • You could spend less time in hospital, suffer less post-operative pain and experience fewer complications. In some cases you could even return home within a day
  • The Mako system improves durability of the implant and will reduce the risk of requiring further surgery

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

You can trust Spire Edinburgh Hospitals Murrayfield and Shawfair Park to provide you with a single, fixed price (1) so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner (2) you can even be considered for interest free finance.

We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.

(1) Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.

(2) Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY. 

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Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.