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Knee replacement surgery

Knee replacement surgery is a common operation to remove worn or damaged parts of your knee joint and replace them with an artificial joint, making movement easy and free from pain again

Sometimes also called

  • Patellofemoral replacement
  • Partial knee replacement (PKR)
  • Revision knee replacement
  • Total knee replacement (TKR)
  • Unicompartmental knee replacement

Why us

  • Fast access to treatment when you need it
  • Internationally and nationally renowned consultants
  • Clear, inclusive pricing
Typical Hospital Stay

2–5 days

Type of anaesthetic

General, spinal or epidural

Covered by health insurance?


Procedure duration

1–2 hours

Available to self-pay?


What is Knee replacement

A knee replacement is a common operation to remove worn or damaged parts of your knee joint and replace them with an artificial joint, to help you move more easily and to reduce pain.

There are two main types of knee replacement — partial knee replacement and full knee replacement.

Knee pain is often caused by wear or damage, usually as a result of osteoarthritis but can also be caused by trauma or other conditions that damage the knee joint, such as:

  • Avascular necrosis – death of the knee joint due to a lack of blood supply
  • Bone dysplasia (unusual bone growth)
  • Gout
  • Haemophilia
  • Knee deformity or injury
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Find a consultant at Sussex Premier Health

Mr Richard Goddard

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Adrian Butler-Manuel

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Simon Hoskinson

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Andrew Skyrme

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Andrew Armitage

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Christopher Buckle

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Simon Pearce

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Khalid Malik

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Your initial consultation

At Sussex Premier Health, you’ll meet your consultant surgeon in one of our private consultation rooms. All our rooms are accessible so there’s no need to worry if walking is difficult for you.

You consultant will ask about your health symptoms and answer any questions you may have. If you haven’t been diagnosed yet they may recommend our diagnostic tests and scans to help them assess your knee in more detail. Both your initial consultation and tests at this stage are charged separately to the cost of any treatment needed.

Your consultant will discuss what would be best for you and your lifestyle and will then advise you about your personal plan and some of the options that are available to you.

Your procedure

On the day of your operation, our ward staff will show you to your own private room. Your private room will have an en-suite bathroom and TV and Wi-Fi facilities.

Once you’re ready, our nurses will help you prepare for your operation. Before your procedure, you will meet with your consultant again and your anaesthetist.

You’ll probably have a general anaesthetic, so you’ll be completely asleep. However, sometimes it’s preferable or necessary to have an epidural (spinal) anaesthetic, where you’re numb from the waist down. If so, your anaesthetist can give you sedatives to help you relax during the operation.

Your consultant will make the necessary incisions and begin to remove worn or damaged areas of your knee joint. They’ll then fit your new knee and close your incisions.

The operation usually takes up to an hour and a half.


You’ll receive pain relief medication to help you recover in comfort. On day one after your surgery, your physiotherapist will get you moving as soon as you feel ready and will provide exercises, so you can enjoy the full benefits of your knee replacement.

Before you go home, your nurse will give you advice about caring for your wounds, hygiene and showering. You’ll be given a date for a follow-up appointment so your consultant can make sure that everything’s as it should be.

After a knee replacement, you can expect to stay at Sussex Premier Health for two to three days.

Treatment and recovery timeline

Day 1

You should be able to stand using a walking aid

2–3 days

You’ll be able to leave hospital

1 week

Able to walk independently with crutches

4–6 weeks

May be able to drive (check with your car insurance company)

6 weeks

Able to walk without crutches

3 months-1 year

Usually free from pain and swelling

2 years

Full recovery as scar tissue is healed and muscles restored by exercise

You may need a knee replacement at any age, however, getting older increases your risk — those aged between 60 and 80 are most likely to need a knee replacement. Genetics, previous knee injury and lifestyle can also play a part in whether you need a knee replacement, so always seek medical advice if you have symptoms.

Your doctor may recommend knee replacement if:

  • You find it difficult carrying out everyday tasks
  • You have depression due to pain or reduced mobility
  • Your mobility is reduced
  • Your quality of life is impacted, including your sleeping
  • You’re unable to work or socialise

Knee replacement surgery can relieve pain and help you become more active again. However, you must be healthy enough to undergo surgery.

Your consultant may suggest an alternative to knee replacement, although the results may not last as long. These treatments are often performed using arthroscopy — a type of keyhole surgery using a thin, flexible, telescopic instrument called an arthroscope.

Knee replacement alternatives include:

  • Arthroscopic washout – flushing the knee joint with fluid using keyhole surgery, often performed with debridement (removal of loose bone or cartilage); this is less common than it used to be
  • Ligament surgery to reconstruct damaged ligaments
  • Microfracture – your surgeon makes small holes in your bones to stimulate cartilage growth
  • Mosaicplasty – transferring healthy cartilage taken from the edge of your joint to the damaged area
  • Osteotomy – the shin bone is cut and realigned to reduce the weight carried by the damaged part of your knee

Your doctor will usually only recommend surgery after you’ve tried other non-invasive alternatives to knee replacement without success. Other treatments include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medications
  • Physiotherapy
  • Steroid injections

Your surgery will be performed by your consultant surgeon.

You’ll be helped out of bed to stand around 12 to 24 hours after your operation. You can then walk with a frame or crutches and should be able to do so independently after a week. If you’ve had keyhole surgery or are on an enhanced recovery programme, it may be sooner.

A physiotherapist will show you some exercises you can do to help strengthen your knee that you can start the day after surgery.

It can take up to two years for your knee to recover, however, you should be able to resume normal daily activities within six weeks and any pain and swelling should settle within three months. Your leg may be swollen for up to a year.

You’ll return to hospital a few weeks after your operation for a follow-up appointment to check your recovery progress.

For most people, their new knee lasts around 20 years or even longer for total knee replacement. Partial knee replacements tend to need to be replaced sooner – after around 10 years. The chances of needing a repeat operation is higher if you’re overweight, you run, play vigorous sports or you conduct heavy manual work.

You should gradually build up any activity, and should be able to manage walking or swimming around six to eight weeks after surgery, depending how fit you were before surgery. You should avoid high impact sports such as running, contact sports or weight lifting. Your consultant or physiotherapist will be able to advise which sports you can do, they may recommend avoiding tennis, squash and skiing, but cycling, dancing and golf may be fine.

Preparing for your surgery by being as fit as possible and strengthening your knee muscles will help improve your recovery time. Before your operation, it’s also a good idea to prepare your home to make it easier for you to get around safely and more easily. Remove anything you can trip over and make sure important items are easy to reach.

For the first few days or weeks at home, you may need someone to help you with errands and household chores.

Speak to your consultant or GP before flying to find out what’s right for you. It’s important to note that your chance of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) increases if you fly after recent surgery.

Airlines have their own regulations about passengers flying after surgery, so make sure you check beforehand.

Knee implants are made from high-grade plastics, polymers and metal alloys.

There are several different metals commonly used in knee replacements, specifically cobalt-chromium, nickel, titanium and zirconium.

Yes, both knees can be replaced at the same time. This may be recommended if you have osteoarthritis in both knees. However, the surgery and recovery time are longer — you will also need more support during your recovery.

Yes, you can have a knee replacement if you are overweight. However, being overweight puts you at greater risk of certain complications during and after surgery. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of knee replacement surgery in your particular case with you so you can make an informed decision.

Interested in finding out more?

Speak to a member of our team

Phone01424 757400

Enquiry form

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