Orthopedic Surgeons Performing Knee Surgery

If you bought a product and there was a problem with it, you’d take it back to the store you bought it at. So what happens if there’s an issue with your knee implant? Dave Duffy explains.

There are two ways of looking at (and answering) a question like ‘is my knee replacement guaranteed?’

You might be talking about the effect of the replacement. Will it enable you to live pain free? Will it give you the full range of mobility you had before osteoarthritis struck? Will it last for as long as we said it would? For such questions there can be no guarantees. We can only talk in terms of data – of what studies show are the most likely outcomes. For a partial knee replacement, for example, we know that success and satisfaction rates are extremely high, and that most patients will enjoy largely (and often entirely) pain free and near normal mobility.

But there’s another type of guarantee patients will occasionally ask about. If they had bought a TV from their local retail park and found there was a fault with it, they would take it back. So what happens if there’s a fault with the implant in your knee?

The first thing to note is that, although implants may fail for other reasons (notably wear after years of use) actual implant faults are exceedingly rare. In this study of total knee replacement failure, which is now several years old, mechanical failure was identified as the cause of just 1% of failures.

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Even so, let’s suppose yours is the one of the rare cases where your replacement doesn’t live up to expectations. What are your options?

NHS: If there’s a problem with your knee implant, or if you’re in any way unhappy with the outcome of your procedure, go back to the hospital and speak to the department that dealt with you. They will establish whether there’s a problem and, if so, what the problem is and the best course of action to fix it. Like the initial operation, this corrective action (known as a ‘revision’) will be free.

Private, insured: In most cases, insurance will cover not just the cost of the initial procedure, but the cost of any further investigation and operation (if required).

Private, self-funding: If you’re paying for the procedure yourself, you’ll usually pay a fixed price that will cover you for 12 months. If there are any issues within that year, investigating and resolving it will usually fall under the umbrella of the original fixed price.

Conditions can vary from insurer to insurer and hospital to hospital, so to be absolutely sure of what’s covered as part of your knee replacement, always check the terms and conditions.

So while there isn’t technically a ‘guarantee’ of your knee implant – there’s no paper or online form to complete and send off to the manufacturer – every patient should enjoy a significant safety net that means they shouldn’t be left with issues uninvestigated, or be expected to write a blank cheque to resolve them.

If you’re experiencing knee pain, contact us or phone us on 03453 052 579.

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> Discover more about benefits of a knee replacement

Dave Duffy

Dave Duffy

Private appointments weekly at The Duchy Hospital Harrogate & Nuffield Hospital Leeds

Private Secretaries

Amanda Hardy
The Duchy Hospital Harrogate
07889 485 579

Lauren Long
Nuffield Leeds
07930 585 744


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