A general description of knee replacement surgery can be downloaded from this page. There are some differences with joint replacement under the care of Mr Lusty which may help to decrease anxiety regarding surgery.
This is the biggest concern of most patients having a knee replacement. Modern techniques will allow better pain control and a more rapid recovery. Analgesia is started before surgery. Spinal analgesia gives a better pain control and a quicker recovery. It is possible for patients to have a spinal anaesthetic and to be sedated so they are not aware of the surgery if they want, or general anaesthetic is an alternative option. Local anaesthetic is injected into the knee and regular pain relief is given following surgery with extra analgesia available if this is not sufficient. A knee replacement will not be pain-free but it can be a tolerable procedure.
Mobilisation starts in recovery. Patients are encouraged to lift their legs up and to start to bend the knee when they leave the operating theatre. When they return to the ward, about 80% of patients stand on the day of surgery and may take their first steps.
Patients do not usually have clips or sutures to remove, or any drains left in situ, after the operation. They will have a tight dressing from the toes to the thigh, which supports the knee and improves pain control.
The emphasis needs to be on rapid recovery, rather than rapid discharge. The average day of discharge is the third day after surgery. Some patients, through individual circumstances or rate of recovery, do stay longer than three days in hospital. This does not have a bearing on their final function.