Knee Replacement expert and Consultant Surgeon, Mr Howard Ware says, “Studies document the reasons why total knee replacements fail and ultimately the operation has to be redone. What is clear from all these studies is that some total knee replacements seem to perform and last longer than others.”
According to data from the UK National Joint Registry, almost 80,000 total knee replacements are performed every year. This data is now revealing the information that patients need to know in order to make informed choices.
Advice from the senior Consultant Surgeon is – Ask your surgeon the following questions:
- What implant do you use?
- What are the results?
- How long has it been in use?
- How many operations do you perform each year?
Mr Ware explains that it is increasingly important for patients to be able to find the best surgical options based on the evidence. The demand for total knee replacements increases every year. This increased demand is due to several factors including:
- More knee replacements are performed in women than men for all ages. There is a clear link between obesity and osteoarthritis of the knee and obesity is more prevalent in women than men.
- The cases of meniscal surgery to the knee following injury has increased which, in turn, increases the future risk of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis of the hip is very rare in a number of different ethnic groups whereas osteoarthritis of the knee is not. In patients from the Arab states and the Indian subcontinent osteoarthritis of the hip is very rare, but that is not the case for the knee and the reasons for this are not clear.
Total knee replacement is a very successful operation. Mr Ware says, "The designs of the implants that we now use are much better, as our knowledge of how the normal knee works has improved, so has the engineering of these artificial joints. Our understanding of how to implant these more accurately has also improved significantly, and as we are doing ever greater numbers every year so does our experience".
"We are a long way from having the perfect joint for every individual, therefore the more you understand the risk and benefit of the procedure, the more able you are to make a considered choice as to whether to have surgery or not".