Knee joint replacement surgery may be total where both sides of the knee joint are replaced, or uni-compartmental where only one side of the knee joint is replaced. The procedure is performed by separating muscles and ligaments around the knee to expose the knee capsule, and then the inside of the joint.
Knee replacement is surgery for people with severe knee damage. Knee replacement can relieve pain and allow you to be more active. Your doctor may recommend it if you have knee pain and medicine and other treatments are not helping you anymore
Total Knee Joint Replacement Complications

Before having a Total Knee Joint Replacement there are certain things you should understand regarding total knee joint replacement surgery.


Firstly the main indication for doing a Total Knee Joint Replacement is the severity of the pain. Therefore to a large extent the decision to proceed with surgery rests with you, the patient.


No operation can be guaranteed 100% successful but the main total knee joint replacements are successful over 95% of patients are very pleased with the result.

With ANY operation there are risks to nerves, blood vessels, bone, tendons, ligaments, muscle, skin and structures which are not intentionally injured but occasionally are so. The more common complications may arise and these specific problems include:

Persisting Stiffness in the Knee
It is important to work hard at regaining movements within the knee and this may be aided while you are in hospital by a special machine called a continuous passive motion machine (CPM). It is often hard work to maintain knee movements following surgery but we aim to have at least 90 degrees of knee flexion before leaving hospital. It is important for you to do your knee exercises daily. At your six week visit, if knee movements are inadequate you may require re-admission to hospital for 24 hours for the knee to be mobilized under an anaesthetic.
Wear of Components

Wear of components is slow but does occur, though it is not a problem for many years following surgery. The wear particles formed from the implant material may contribute to loosening in the long term. This is dependent on weight and activity as well as age. On average less than 5% of implants will require revision within 10 years, and the majority will last more than 15 - 20 years.


Infection can also be a problem and these is an incidence of between 1 and 2%. This can be a major problem which is difficult to treat, and results in removal of the implant and treatment with antibiotics for six weeks before another is inserted. Repeat infections are rare and may eventually require stiffening of the knee. Antibiotics are given during and after the operation. Infection can be reduced to less than 1% by the use of sealed space suits and operation in a special laminar flow theatre.

It is important not to have any infections at the time of surgery, including teeth problems, bladder or skin infections. We suggest that you have a dental check up within 6 months prior to surgery as it is important not to have any major dental work for 6 months after the surgery. Please let me know if you have any infections prior to surgery.

Modern day anaesthetics are very efficient and safe but when dealing with older patients there is always the possibility, although small, of heart or chest complications. Blood clots can occur as a complication of any operation and these may be fatal in less than one patient per thousand. This is reduced further by taking 100mg of Aspirin (Cartia) daily for 6 weeks after surgery.


This information is given to you so that you are fully aware of the small risks associated with knee surgery. Overall the procedure is very successful and the incidence of complications is very small.

Further Information Knee Replacement Surgery:
If you have any queries on Total Knee Joint Replacement surgery please do not hesitate to contact Dr Hugh Blackley's practice rooms during office hours on 09 522 2980