Knee surgery is one of the most common types of surgery in the UK. Every year, more than 100,000 people head to theatre for knee replacements alone, for example.
When you think about how crucial knees are to our everyday lives, perhaps that’s not surprising. Persistent knee pain, whatever the cause, impacts almost everything we do.
With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to list the most commonly-performed knee operations here at Chris Bailey Orthopaedics. Here’s a quick rundown (along with some links for further reading).
Arthroscopy is simply a kind of keyhole surgery. That means the instruments used are very small, the incisions likewise. The “arthroscope” itself is a thin tube with a miniature camera that lets us see into the joint to diagnose or treat the problem. Tiny instruments are inserted into the tube to carry out the surgery. Arthroscopies, which are usually performed under a general anaesthetic, are used for a wide range of knee operations. These include meniscus tears, removal of loose bodies (pieces of cartilage that catch in the joint), and the next two, ligament-specific operations in this list…
Read on… I’m due to have an arthroscopy: what happens next?
2 ACL Reconstruction
This is an operation for the anterior cruciate ligament, that band of tissue that runs through the centre of your knee joint. Cruciate ligaments are tough, but not indestructible. They can tear under sudden, severe pressure – a twisted knee in sport after the foot becomes “planted” in the turf is a classic example. ACL Reconstruction uses a graft, usually taken from the hamstring or patellar tendon, to replace the torn section of ligament. A suspension device and screws fix the new tendon in place.
Read on… Learn more about ACL tears in our case study interviews with Robb, Beth and Bethany
3 MPFL Reconstruction
A near-neighbour of the ACL, the MPFL is your medial patellofemoral ligament. We liken it to a guy rope, because it anchors the inner part of the kneecap to the thighbone. The guy rope doesn’t always function as tautly as it should in some patients, for example if an accident has damaged it or if the ligaments are unusually stretchy (“hyperlaxity”). This can cause the kneecap to dislocate more easily. MPFL Reconstruction aims to correct this by introducing a synthetic polyester tape into the knee to provide a stronger hold around the kneecap.
Read on… Find out more about a new technique that’s being used to help dislocated kneecaps
4 Total Knee Replacement
Like hip replacement, total knee replacement (“TKR”) is a very common operation these days. It’s generally used for patients who have widespread arthritic damage across their knees, with ongoing pain that’s seriously restricting everyday life. During surgery, the damaged joint surface is removed and an entirely new, artificial implant is fixed in its place to provide the smooth joint action that has been lost. Robot-assisted arm surgery is becoming an increasingly popular way to perform the operation.
Read on… Read a 60-second guide to TKR, and an interview with TKR patient David
5 Partial Knee Replacement
Arthritic damage isn’t always spread evenly across the knee. Sometimes it’s focused on a single part of the knee. In this situation, a partial knee replacement might be appropriate. Also known as a unicondylar or unicompartmental replacement (or simply “PKR”), it aims to replace the damaged compartment with a specially-designed artificial implant, leaving the other knee compartments intact. It’s a smaller operation than a total replacement, which can mean a quicker recovery time.
Read on… See what recovering from a PKR looks like, and read an interview with PKR patient Ed
See also… Partial or total knee replacement: Understanding the differences
Do you have any questions about knee pain or orthopaedic surgery? If so, please drop us a line. We’ll be glad to help. You can call the team direct on 01962 826107, or book an appointment with Mr Bailey through the website.