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Knee

Knee Replacement

The goal of knee replacement surgery is to diminish pain and improve function. It’s performed for knees where the joint's surface has been significantly worn out. Any deformity is also corrected at the time of the operation.

The surgery is highly successful, for most patients resulting a range of motion from full extension (being able to straighten the leg fully - very important for normal walking) to 120 degrees of flexion (being able to bend the knee back under the thigh). The ultimate motion achieved is a combination of the efforts of the surgeon and the efforts of the patient during recovery.

The surgery takes about an hour and patients stay in hospital for about 3 days. Upon going home, patients are able to bend the knee to a right angle, ascend and descend stairs and walk with a stick over the next 3 weeks.

The doctors at Northern Orthopaedics, together with anesthetic colleagues, have spent much effort to achieve the best pain relief after the surgery. It must be remembered that the analgesia will deminish the pain, although not not remove it altogether. The pain is caused by stretching the knee, and this must be achieved to obtain the best possible result from the surgery.

The surgery is often performed using a spinal anaesthetic as it provides many benefits, not the least of which is being able to move the knee immediately post operatively, so that your rehabilitation commences as soon as the surgery is completed.

Most knee replacements should last between 15 and 25 years. The goal for our doctors is always to do the operation once, do it well and achieve the sought-after result.


Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is a form of ‘key hole’ surgery where the internal structures of the knee can be assessed and problems treated. The surgery is usually performed as day surgery and patients rarely require walking aids (crutches or sticks) afterward.

At least 2 more small incisions (0.5 cm) are made over the front of the knee and a device placed into the knee to visualise the structures within. Special instruments are the used to perform the surgery, often including removal of loose and torn fragments.

Patients return approximately 10 days post surgery where sutures are removed and the surgery is discussed, using photographs taken during the operation as illustrations.

The goal of the surgery is to reduce pain and improve function. At times the problem within the knee is beyond the simple help which can be achieved from arthroscopy. The probable outcome of the surgery is discussed in the pre operative consultation, and any factors which may alter the results are highlighted.

Post operative exercises as always are important.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament (acl) Reconstruction

The goal of this operation is to restore stability to the knee. The ACL lies deep within the knee and is very important in providing rotational and sidestepping stability of the knee. Often patients who have injured their ACL will complain the their knee feels as if it will give way if they change direction whilst walking or running.

The surgery takes about one hour and most often the ACL is reconstructed using the hamstring tendons from the inner side of the thigh. This is a common technique as the tendons reform and so little function is lost in their use.

The tendons are passed into appropriate tunnels within the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (below the knee) and secured, all performed through 4 small incisions, the largest being 3cm long.

Patients stay in hospital overnight and walk next day using crutches for about 5 days. Exercise post surgery, as always, is very important.