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Knee surgery


About knee surgery

Knee surgery is an operation to either repair an injury, or to treat a condition that is causing painful symptoms, such as osteoarthritis.

You may have knee surgery to replace your knee joint if it's damaged or worn away. You can have part of, or all of your knee joint replaced with artificial knee parts.

You can also have surgery to repair injuries or damage to your ligaments. For example, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery. Ligaments are bands of tough connective tissue that stretch diagonally across your knee and support your knee joint.

How can I prepare for my knee surgery?

Your surgeon will explain how to prepare and what will happen when you have knee surgery. Your hospital may ask you not to eat or drink anything for a set time before your procedure.

Before you go for knee surgery, take a list of any medicines you are currently taking. Your surgeon may give you antibiotics to take before your knee surgery to prevent an infection.

You may need to arrange for someone take you home after knee surgery. 

What happens during my knee surgery?

Before the procedure, your surgeon will talk you through the process and ask you to sign a consent form.

When you have knee surgery, you may be seen as a day case. However, this will depend on the type of knee surgery you are having. If you have knee replacement surgery for example, you may need to stay in hospital for one to four days.

Knee surgery can be performed under general anaesthesia. This means you will be asleep during the procedure. Alternatively, it may be done under local anaesthesia, where you will be awake, but unable to feel anything around your knee. 

What happens next will depend on the type of surgery you're having. If you're having knee replacement surgery, your surgeon will remove the worn parts of your knee joint and replace them with metal and plastic parts. 

If you're having an ACL repair, your doctor will place a graft over your torn ligament, and fix it to your thighbone and shinbone using screws or staples. A graft is a piece of tissue from elsewhere in your body, such as from other knee tendons, or tendons that run along your leg. The graft acts as a scaffold for the ACL to grow on and repair.

Are there any complications or risks of my knee surgery?

As with every procedure, there are complications associated with knee surgery. Speak to your surgeon for more information.

Complications of knee surgery include infection, bleeding, and stiffness. Depending on the type of surgery you have, you might also have some damage to the nerves in your leg.

Recovering from knee surgery

You may have some pain and discomfort in your knee after surgery. The recovery time from knee surgery can vary between people and between the different types of operation.

Physical therapy is vital to a good recovery after knee surgery. Your doctor or surgeon will usually recommend exercises to start immediately after your surgery.

Talk to your doctor or surgeon about what steps you can do to help your recovery.

What to do now

Once you have decided that you would like to be treated at an HCA hospital, or would like further information, here's what to do next:

  1. Call one of our advisors on + 44 (0) 20 7079 4399 or complete our web enquiry form.
  2. Check with your insurance company that your policy covers your treatment, and obtain authorisation.
  3. Visit or call your GP to obtain a referral letter and then call us to make an appointment to visit your chosen consultant and hospital at a time to suit you.
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