Having a knee replacement is a big decision. There’s a lot to factor in, from the impact of the operation to the length of recovery time – for most people who have a total knee replacement, it takes about six weeks before normal activities start to come back online. It’s natural to feel daunted.
As orthopaedic consultants, one of our key jobs is to help you weigh up the pros and cons of surgery so you can make the best possible decision. But we also want to be able to provide reassurance when it’s needed. If you’re in this position yourself, and you’re worried about the prospect of a knee replacement, here are three positive factors to consider.
You’re not alone
Knee replacements are now one of the most common operations in the UK. They’ve actually been with us in various forms since the 1960s (though the first prototype was developed in the 1880s, would you believe). We’ve performed over 1200 knee replacements here at Chris Bailey Orthopaedics, but nationally more than 100,000 take place every year. This kind of scale means the treatment is well attested, and also that the technology is always improving. On which point…
Most implants are very long-lasting
Over the past 30 years, implant technology has been getting better and better. The materials and mechanics we’re using provide more exact fits, with lower profiles. One result is that implants are lasting longer. Over 80% of total knee replacements now last for 25 years (see the National Institute for Health Research). The chances of needing revision surgery within 13 years of the original operation are less than five percent (see the National Joint Registry).
With knee replacements, time is the biggest healer
There’s no question that recovering from a knee replacement is hard work, and painful in the early days. You’ll be taking painkillers for the first few weeks, and it takes perseverance to keep the leg mobile. But for most people, the recovery journey improves significantly after that initial post-op period. NHS Digital reports that 95.2% of knee replacement patients saw an improvement in health after their operations; three-quarters said that, overall, they felt “much better” than they had before.
This last point hints at one of the key factors in knee replacement recovery – managing expectations is really important. For some people, that means being realistic about the kinds of activities they’ll be able to tackle after an implant. For others, it’s about acknowledging that the early days can be tough-going and that they’ll need plenty of support as they begin their recovery.
Talking of support, it really begins from the point where you’re thinking about surgery for the first time. If you’re being encouraged to consider a knee replacement but are feeling anxious about it, do consider making contact and asking us for advice. We’d be very happy to talk it through with, answer your questions and discuss whether it’s right for you.
Other articles you might find helpful…
- A brief introduction to knee replacements: link
- A recovery timeline following surgery: link
- Tips for improving your recovery time: link
- How to prepare well for a big operation: link
To book an appointment with us: call Cheryl on 01962 8261207 or book via the website.