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Knee Replacement

Also known as knee arthroplasty, this procedure involves removing one or more of the articular surfaces within the knee and replacing them with either ceramic, plastic or metal components.

The articular surfaces in the knee are highly specialised cartilage layers at the ends of the bones, which allow smooth movement against the neighbouring bone while weight-bearing.

Why you might need a knee replacement

Knee replacement surgery is usually needed when the knee joint is worn or damaged. When this happens, your ability to move will be affected and you’ll be in pain much of the time.

The most common reason for needing a knee replacement is osteoarthritis. This is when the cartilage inside your knee joint gets worn away through wear and tear and causes the bones to rub against each other. Other health conditions that cause knee damage include:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • haemophilia
  • gout
  • disorders that cause unusual bone growth
  • death of bone in the knee joint following blood supply problems
  • knee injury
  • knee deformity with pain and loss of cartilage

A knee replacement involves replacing a damaged joint with an artificial one.

Knee replacements are an extremely successful and common operation with over thousands performed in the UK each year. The surgeons at our Knee Clinic are all senior consultants who regularly perform knee replacement operations and can advise you on the most suitable procedure for your condition, age and activity levels.

Total knee replacements

If you have arthritis or a knee condition that is severe and affects the whole knee, a total knee replacement might be the best option for you.

In a total knee replacement, both the inner and outer surfaces of your thigh bone and shin bone will be replaced. The operation may or may not include the knee cap.

This operation usually involves four to five nights in hospital. Using advanced keyhole techniques, most people will be able to stand on the day following the operation and can begin physio straaight away, with regular sessions each day.

After a knee replacement, you’ll find that your range of motion will be much greater and your pain should be very much reduced.

Once you’re discharged, you’ll need to use a frame or crutches at first and you’ll need to continue with the exercises taught to you by our physiotherapists. These exercises will help strengthen your knee, so it’s important to keep doing these as part of your daily routine.

Most people can stop using walking aids around 6 weeks after surgery, and start driving after 6 to 8 weeks.

Partial knee replacements

Some people will only need a partial knee replacement. In these cases, only a small amount of worn cartilage and underlying bone will need to be removed. This is then replaced with a specially designed implant.

This can be a good option because:

  • You’re hospital stay will be shorter
  • Your rehab time will be reduced
  • There is less injury to the muscles that surround the knee

After a partial knee replacement, you’ll usually spend one to two nights in hospital you’ll need to use crutches or a frame for around 3 to 4 weeks.

Get in touch

Paying for yourself?

If you are paying for your own treatment, you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. Simply refer yourself* and book an appointment on 020 7806 4000 or email londonkneespecialists@hje.org.uk

Using health insurance?

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa, Aviva), you need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases, you will also need to get a referral letter from your GP. If you’re not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use.

*Please note – for tests and scans such as X-rays, MRIs and blood tests, a referral will be needed. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

Knee Clinic

The Knee Unit at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital comprises a dedicated team specialising in the diagnosis and treatment of knee pain and stiffness caused by knee conditions or injuries.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7432 8328.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

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