Joint Replacement Surgery

Hip and knee replacement surgery, is performed for the symptoms caused by severe joint disease. It can be performed safely and with consistent results. It has a well proven track record in improving quality of life.

Types of surgery

  • Hip replacement
  • Knee replacement
  • Partial knee replacement
  • Revision hip and knee replacement

When should I have a joint replaced?

Joint replacement is performed for severe joint disease, which can be caused by:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory arthritis (eg. Rheumatoid arthritis & gout)
  • Trauma (ie. post-traumatic arthritis)
  • Avascular necrosis (ie. Loss of blood supply to the bones that make up the joint)
  • Developmental abnormalities (eg. Developmental dysplasia of the hip)
  • Infection

Joint replacement surgery may be necessary when someone:

  • Suffers severe pain & stiffness
  • Experiences difficulty with walking & using stairs
  • Has trouble with daily activities, such as putting on shoes and showering
  • Does not experience relief with non-operative treatment

The aim of surgery is to:

  • Reduce pain
  • Improve mobility
  • Increase the level of function
  • Improve quality of life

Surgical treatment

A pre-operative assessment will be required before the procedure, to ensure that the surgery can be performed safely. This will typically involve:

  • Blood tests
  • Skin swabs, to determine if you carry any bacteria that are not covered by the routine antibiotics used
  • Urine tests
  • ECG
  • X-rays of the joint to be replaced
  • Anaesthetic assessment

Surgery will require:

  • Admission to hospital
  • Spinal and/or general anaesthesia
  • Post-operative management of pain
  • Measures to prevent blood clot formation
    o Mechanical
         - Early mobilisation
         - Thrombo-Embolic Deterent Stockings (TEDS)
         - Sequential Compression Devices (SCDs)
    o Chemical
         - Fractionated heparin injections (eg. Clexane)
         - Oral (tablet) anticoagulants (eg. Xarelto)
  • Physiotherapy, to work on:
    o Mobility
    o Joint range of movement
    o Lower limb strength
  • Planning for discharge home, with a multi-disciplinary team

A small proportion of patients may experience complications, such as:

  • Infection
  • Blood clot formation (ie. DVT)
  • Loss of blood, requiring transfusion
  • Joint dislocation
  • Residual pain
  • Failure of implants


Life after joint replacement surgery

Joint replacement surgery aims to improve function and quality of life. After the surgery, you should be able to comfortably participate in a range of activities, such as:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Light cycling
  • Golf

High impact sports can result in accelerated wear of the implanted components, so are discouraged. These include:

  • Running
  • Football
  • Basketball