• Frequently asked questions

    On this page you will find the answers to questions frequently asked by patients.  Some of the answers may be of assistance to you.

    How can I help to make the operation a success?

    If you can, stop smoking as far in advance of your surgery as possible. This will reduce the chances of you having any complications whilst under the anaesthetic and will also benefit your health in the long term.  Help and advice are available from www.nhs.uk/smokefree or your GP.

    If you are overweight you are at a higher risk of developing complications.  Advice on following a healthy diet is available from www.eatwell.gov.uk of your GP.

    Taking regular exercise improves lung function boosts the immune system, helps control weight and improves your mood.  It also helps to reduce the risk of some medical conditions and heart disease.  Advice is available from www.nhs.uk/livewell/fitness  but consult your GP before you start any exercise program.

    How long will my implant last?

    It is possible that your partial knee replacement will wear out with time, depending on your weight and how physically active you are.  Eventually a worn knee replacement will need to be replaced, although most partial knee replacements will last between 10 and 15 years.

    Have a check x-ray of your partial knee replacement every two years to check for any problems such as loosening of the joint.

    I occasionally have an allergic reaction to metal.  Is that a problem?

    Inform your consultant of your allergies.  If available provide him with your allergy passport.  The materials used for the implants and the coatings very rarely cause an allergic reaction.  Special materials or coatings are required in only a few cases.

    I feel very well after the operation – do I have to go to the follow-ups anyway?

    You should observe your follow-up dates without fail, even if you are not in pain and feel well.  They allow your specialist to keep track of your rehabilitation and to recognise complications early on.  In the first year after the operation, several follow-up examinations will take place.  Later these examinations will be required only once a year, then every two or three years.  Your doctor will determine the ideal interval.

    I am in great pain – yet I was told to wait a bit longer before the implantation of a partial knee joint.  Is this correct?

    Although it is ultimately up to the patient whether and when to have a partial knee replacement, the decision should be taken in consultation with a specialist.  The essential factors that influence such a decision are as follows:

    In your medical checkups and x-ray pictures your specialist has found advanced arthritis of the knee.    

    Pain interferes so much with your quality of life that you are no longer able to cope with the daily routine without daily and permanent discomfort.  Your walking distance and mobility are clearly reduced.

    Alternative treatment methods (physiotherapy) will no longer be successful.

    You depend on a constant intake of drugs.  These are no longer sufficient despite increased dosage.

    If these factors apply to you, an operation should be considered regardless of your age.  If the above circumstances do not apply to you, it is advisable to postpone an operation to look for   non-operative treatment methods.

    What risks does the implantation of a partial knee replacement involve?

    In Europe an average of 550,000 artificial hip joints and 230,000 knee joints are implanted per year. Today the operation is a routine intervention.

    However, risks of such things as bleeding, drug allergies, deep vein thromboses, pulmonary embolisms or infections cannot be fully excluded.

    Preventive measures such as the administration of drugs and physiotherapy, limit these risks to a large extent.  Your doctor will provide you with further information on the subject.

    When will I be able to drive a car again?

    You should only get behind the wheel when you feel fit to drive.  You are the one responsible for this! We recommend that you consult your attending specialist first.  Never drive under the influence of strong pain relievers!

    When can I be sexually active again?

    You should not make any strong knee bends in the first six to twelve weeks after the operation in order to prevent an irritation of the joint or a feeling of strain.

    Other than that there is nothing else that interferes with sexual intercourse.  Your doctor will be happy to answer any questions.

    In conclusion

    Arthritis of the knee is a degenerative disease, although occasionally it is caused by an earlier injury.  A partial knee replacement can relieve pain and stiffness and make walking easier.  In the majority of cases, surgery is safe and effective, but complications can arise and if you know about them this can help you to prevent them or enable you to seek help if they do occur.

    If you have any queries or questions about any of the information contained within this brochure, then please contact the London Knee Clinic 020 7407 3069.  Further information is available on our website www.londonkneeclinic.com.


    Along with the practitioners of the medical arts, you are responsible for your partial knee joint and can contribute a great deal to your therapeutic success.  Your co-operation is of the utmost importance.  We hope that this brochure has explained the most important factors and procedures.

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