Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement Guide

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of chronic arthritis. The condition affects approximately 1.4 million Australians, or approximately 7.3% of the population.

Osteoarthritis usually progresses slowly and may produce non-specific local symptoms that impair health-related quality of life, such as pain with joint use, stiffness, loss of joint mobility and function and alteration in the shape of the joint. The knee is most commonly involved, followed by the hip. The spine, foot and joints of the hand can also be affected.

In the Hospital

Total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial parts (prostheses). A/Prof Michael Reid has been performing knee replacement surgery for over a decade.

The knee is the largest joint in your body. In a normal, healthy knee, the bone surfaces that come together at the joint are smooth and hard. A cushioning layer of tissue (called articular cartilage) prevents contact between these bones. This tough layer of tissue allows the joint to move without creating friction or wear on the bone surfaces. As the cartilage breaks down, the underlying bone is often left exposed and unprotected, producing bony spurs called osteophytes. In addition, soft tissues around the joint (such as the synovium, ligaments and tendons) can become inflamed and swollen. As these changes occur, the joint loses its smooth movement, becoming stiff and painful. Reduced use of the painful joint causes the muscles to weaken and lose bulk. This in turn increases the load and damage to the cartilage, bone and soft tissues. In advanced stages of OA, the space between the bones is reduced and bones can be in direct contact during movement. This results in increased pain and further joint damage and a deterioration in the quality of life.  Being overweight or obese can contribute to OA, particularly in females.

Being overweight is strongly associated with OA of the knee and the hip. Speak to one of our OSSEM doctors about our Fit4Surgery programme and in particular weight loss prior to surgery if you would like some help with this.

Information About Knee Replacements

Total knee replacement surgery was first performed in 1968. Since then, knee replacement surgeons have been using improvements in surgical materials and techniques have greatly increased its effectiveness. Total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial parts (prostheses).

Knee Replacement Recovery Time

It is important to get out of bed and mobilise (initially under supervision by the physiotherapist and nursing staff) to reduce complications and promote healing. Delay in mobilisation can increase the chances of developing post-operative complications, so we are keen to get you moving quite quickly.  You will likely stay in the hospital for xxxxxxxx.

After discharge, we will see in our consulting rooms for follow up at 2 weeks where A/Prof Reid will examine you and our nurse will review your wound.

  • Expect to be walking with help – the next day you will walk with the physio and some walking aids
  • Showering – with a waterproof dressing by next day
  • Swimming – This will depend on full healing of your wound. Please discuss this at your 6 week check
  • Walking unaided – Everyone is different, but generally by 6 weeks you will be able to mobilise without an aid. This will be checked at your 6 week check.
  • Driving – You need to be off strong pain killers and able to conduct an emergency stop. This is often the case by 6 weeks. Again, discuss this at your 6 week check.
  • Cycling – At OSSEM, we love cycling and encourage our patients to rehab using a bike where possible. Initially you could be working on a stationary bike at week 4 and be back cycling carefully, outdoors at 8 weeks post op