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Reasons for revision of the knee can include:

  • Infection
  • Loosening of the implant
  • Wearing of the implant surfaces
  • Bone loss
  • Incorrect alignment

Your consultant will do a complete examination and may order x-rays, blood tests or an MRI scan to full assess your current implant(s).

If your knee implants have failed your surgeon may recommend revision surgery.

What happens during revision of the knee?

Revision of the knee is usually performed under general anaesthetic. The procedure can take 2 hours depending on the condition of your implants and any bone loss.

Your surgeon will make an incision (cut) down the centre of your knee. Your old implants will be carefully removed. Your surgeon will assess the bone surfaces to confirm if bone grafts might be needed. They will fit your new knee components and adjust any soft tissue, muscles and ligaments around the joint to confirm a good fit both when bending and straightening your leg.

Your soft tissues are sewn back together and the wound will be closed with stitches or staples.

After knee revision

Once your operation is over, you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you will wake from the anaesthetic. Your wound, blood pressure and pulse will be checked carefully. You will have a large dressing covering your wound. You may have a small tube coming out of your wound - this is to drain away any excess fluid from the inside of the wound.

You may also have a drip (infusion) going into your arm. This will keep you hydrated until you are able to drink, and can also be used to give you pain relief.

You will need to stay in hospital for several days. Be sure and let us know if you are in pain. You may need to wear compression stockings to prevent blood clots (deep vein thrombosis – DVT).

A physiotherapist will help you get up and begin to move around on your own. They will give you some exercises to help get your knee moving. These are important to help you make a good recovery. The therapist will also show you how to walk up and down stairs and make sure you are confident at doing this before you go home. You won’t be able to drive, so you will need someone to come and take you home from the hospital.

Going home after knee revision

You will go home using crutches or a walker. Be sure and continue to take any pain relief medication as prescribed. Good pain management will help you regain your mobility.

When you get home you will be tired for several weeks and should rest. However, it’s also important to aim to gradually increase your physical activity each day, so you should continue with the exercises the physiotherapist showed you. These will help to reduce stiffness and strengthen your legs. You will need to keep using crutches or a walking stick for a while. To help you manage and increase mobility it’s recommended that you take any pain relief medication we have prescribed. Continue taking this until you are pain free.

Everyone heals differently. You will continue to improve over the next six to twelve months. Your scar should fade to a thin white line.

Depending on what type of job you do, you should be able to return to work within twelve weeks. You may want to think about a phased return to work.

After your follow visit with your surgeon you should be released to drive but only if you can comfortably operate the pedals and control your car in all situations. This includes an emergency stop. If you are in any doubt about your insurance cover, it’s best to contact your insurance company.

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following knee revision. As with any surgery there can be complications:

Risks specific to knee replacement surgery are:

  • Numbness on the outside of the knee caused by a nerve being cut during surgery
  • Stiffness - there may need to be further, minor surgery to improve this
  • Pain when kneeling
  • Bleeding around the joint - this usually settles but may need to be drained by a surgeon
  • Fluid build-up around the joint
  • Rejection of the prosthesis
  • Infection in the joint

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?

Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating
Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

Self Pay Enquiries 0300 131 1401
Switchboard 01483 555800
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

Enquiries 0300 1311416
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

Enquiries 0300 131 1400
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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