What is Revision Knee Replacement?

Revision knee replacement involves replacing a previously implanted artificial knee joint. 

When is Revision Knee Replacement Recommended?

Revision can be required for a knee replacement which is or has become loose, unstable or painful. There are a number of other reasons for revision including fracture, or infection. Modern knee replacements may last for 20 years but like anything mechanical, may eventually wear out. Earlier artificial joints tended to wear out faster. An old knee replacement may display osteolysis (bone eaten away) behind the prosthesis. This may occur even prior to the development of symptoms. People who have significant osteolysis may benefit from revision prior to the onset of symptoms to avoid the risk of fracture. If you have had your knee replaced in the past it is generally recommended to have it checked after 10 years.

What Does the Process Involve?

You will need to attend the pre-admission clinic, usually 2 weeks prior to the procedure. You will be admitted on the day of surgery and stay in hospital until you are mobilising safely, usually 4-5 days. Inpatient rehabilitation for a further 1-2 weeks is available if required. 

How Long Does it Take to Recover?

Revision knee surgery varies in complexity from a simple change of the plastic liner to a complete revision of all components and bone grafting. The length of recovery depends on the complexity of the surgery as well as your general health. 

Is Physiotherapy Required?

Yes. This commences in hospital the day following surgery to help you walk safely again. Physiotherapy will continue as an outpatient once you go home.

What are the Risks?

The risks are similar to a first time (primary) knee replacement. They include but are not limited to infection, blood clots in the leg, injury to nerves and blood vessels, stiffness, and fracture. The risk of any of these is higher than with a primary knee replacement.