Total Knee Replacement

What is a Total Knee Replacement?

Total knee replacement (or total knee arthroplasty) is a common surgical procedure that is usually performed to relieve pain during end-stage arthritis. It is also performed to improve the movement of stiff knees and correct knee deformity.

Why do I need one?

Total Knee Replacement surgery is usually recommended if you are experiencing severe osteoarthritis of the knee and all other treatment options have failed to provide enough relief. Your South Coast Orthopaedics surgeon may recommend a total knee replacement if you experience:

What happens in a Total Knee Replacement procedure?

A Total Knee Replacement is major surgery and it is performed under general anaesthesia. The procedure usually takes one to two hours. During a Total Knee Replacement, the damaged parts of the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial components. This usually involves placing metal caps on the ends of the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). A polyethene surface is then placed between these surfaces to ensure smooth movement.

Your knee joint is then X-rayed and tested to ensure it has a normal range of motion. The whole joint is then flushed and cleaned with a sterile solution. A small, temporary drainage tube is inserted, and the incision is closed and covered in a sterile dressing.


The average hospital stay for a Total Knee Replacement is seven to ten days. Your surgeon will provide you with information of what to expect during your time in hospital, and how to best prepare for your hospital stay at our rooms prior to your surgery.

It’s a good idea to make sure that you have someone at home with you after your procedure. You’ll also need to make sure that you don’t have to climb any stairs to get to your bed or bathroom for the first few weeks after surgery.

Rehabilitation processes will begin soon after surgery. A physical therapist will teach you how to exercise your leg and restore knee movement. He or she will also show you several home-based exercises that you will need to do.

You will be on crutches for the first four to six weeks after surgery, however it can take around three months for the pain and swelling to settle down. Most patients find that they can return to normal activities within six to twelve months after surgery.