Total Knee Replacement Surgery (TKR)

What is total knee replacement surgery?

Total knee replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure which involves replacing the worn-out surfaces of the joint with a metal and plastic prosthesis. It is similar in shape to the natural joint surfaces and functions in a similar but not identical way.

Dr Kennedy routinely carries out total knee replacement surgery using computer assisted surgical techniques which allow very accurate restoration of alignment of the whole affected limb.

When is total knee replacement surgery recommended?

The most effective surgical treatment for severe arthritis or osteonecrosis is a total knee replacement. It can be considered if you are in chronic pain which restricts your daily activities and sleep, and if the pain is not relieved by physiotherapy, medications injections or bracing.

Which knee replacement system does Dr Kennedy use?

Dr Kennedy usually uses the “Nexgen” knee replacement system which is made in the USA by Zimmer Biomet. It has been one of the most reliable systems used in Australia for many years. Under some particular circumstances Dr Kennedy prefers to use the more recently introduced “Persona” knee replacement system, which is also made by Zimmer Biomet and is based on the “Nexgen” design.

What does total knee replacement surgery involve?

Total knee replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure which is not to be undertaken lightly. The risks and benefits will be discussed in detail during your consultation.

The surgery requires either a general or regional anaesthetic or a combination of both. An incision is made lengthways along the front of the knee and takes about 70-90 minutes.

You will be admitted to hospital for 3-7 days depending on a patient’s individualprogresswhich can be quite variable.

How long will it take to recover from total knee replacement surgery?

The recovery period varies from patient to patient. The knee usually remains swollen and warm for several months after surgery, recovering steadily back to its usual size in most cases.

It is important to remember that the best outcomes take several months of rehabilitation and involve considerable hard work and effort. Typically, it can be 6-12 weeks before the knee feels comfortable. You might be able to drive within 6-8 weeks. You might be able to start playing golf or gardening after about three months.

A total knee replacement prosthesis never feels or functions completely like a normal, healthy knee. Its purpose is to relieve severe pain to allow comfortable walking. Running or jumping on a prosthesis is not recommended and most people find it difficult to kneel.

It is a common misconception that total knee replacement prostheses only have a 10-year life expectancy. This is not so, and if early complications are avoided, they can be very long lasting.