Frequently Asked Questions

Q - How long will I be in hospital after ACL surgery?

A - One night.

Q - Should I change my dressing?

A - No, this dressing should be left alone until the stitches are removed. However, if you have any fresh oozing or bleeding from the wound, please contact the hospital.

Q - Can I shower whilst wearing the dressing/bandages?

A - Yes, the dressing is waterproof.

Q - When can I drive?

A - Approximately 4-6 weeks after surgery.

Q - How long do I need off work?

A - Usually 2-4 weeks, but in some cases where patients have manual jobs they need to take up to six weeks off work.

Q - Will I require physiotherapy following my op?

A - You will be given an exercise sheet by the physiotherapists on the ward, you will then need to see a physiotherapist at least once a week for the first few weeks.

Q - How active can you be after the operation?

A - The answer to this lies within you. The more active you were before the knee got painful, the more active you are likely to be after. A positive outlook really helps. Your knee will be pain-free with a much better ranger of movement. Your muscles will be weak so physiotherapy will help.

Q - What are the risks of knee replacement?

A - The risks of surgery are low. The most common complications are minor; superficial infection, blood clot (DVT), urinary or chest infection. These may prolong your stay in hospital by a few days. They will occur in 2-4% of cases. You will be given medication to prevent infection and DVT and helped by the physiotherapists to walk in the early post-surgical phase. There are more serious risks such as; stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolus (lung blood clot). The risk here is very small, less than half of one percent (0.2-0.4%), but no major operation is risk free. Your decision whether or not to have your operation is a question of risk versus benefit.

Q - How long will I be in the hospital?

A - Patients normally stay in the hospital for 2 days after a knee replacement. The physiotherapists make sure that the patients are able to walk independently, with the help of crutches or walking frames, and negotiate stairs before being discharged from the hospital.

Q - Is blood transfusion common after a joint replacement?

A - The chance of receiving blood transfusion after a knee replacement is less than 10%. In a fit and healthy person with high pre-operative haemoglobin the chances of blood transfusion is very low.

Q - What is computer-assisted knee replacement?

A - A computer with specialized software is used in the operating room to assist the surgeon to achieve proper placement and alignment of the knee prosthesis. The system provides instant information on the boney alignment of the knee joint, the function and tensions of the ligaments required for knee stability, and the special cuts that must be made in the femoral and tibial bones to achieve a precise placement of the prosthesis.

Q - Why was computer-assisted surgery developed?

A -The long-term results of knee replacement operations before computer-assisted techniques were developed have been very good. In fact, total knee replacement is one of the most successful operations performed in the human body. In many published studies, over 90% of the knee replacements were reported to be intact and functioning 15 years after surgery. However, not all knee replacement procedures are successful because the exact alignment desired at surgery is not obtained. There are many reasons that cause this problem and even the most experienced joint replacement surgeons may encounter this complication. Total knee replacements require exact alignment and balancing so that weight bearing forces are spread evenly across the knee joint. An analogy would be correctly aligning or balancing a tire on a car so that that there is even wear over an extended period of time, and not excessive wear on just one side. The same is true of a knee replacement. The plastic insert is sensitive to abnormal pressures which could result in premature wear and possible failure of the replacement.

Q - What are the downsides of computer-assisted surgery?

A - There is additional time, usually 15 minutes, that is added to the operative procedure. This is necessary to input the information and recheck that the computer is collecting the correct information it requires. It is possible that the surgeon will determine that the computer is not providing the appropriate data and convert to visual alignment methods. In this case, other instruments are used in the procedure to obtain correct alignment of the replacement. The primary goal is that the surgeon uses whatever method deemed necessary to obtain a successful result.