TREATMENT FAQs

Frequently asked questions for some of our most common procedures

As your knee operation approaches you’ll probably have many questions about what will happen immediately before, during and after surgery.

Here are some of our knee specialists’ most frequently asked questions for some of our most common procedures:

Keyhole Surgery (Knee Arthroscopy) FAQs

When Will I Be Admitted To Hospital?

You will be admitted on the day of surgery.

Prior to admission you will be able to eat and drink normally until the time we give you.

Beyond that point, you should avoid food and drink, including chewing gum and nicotine gum, until after your operation. This will allow you to arrive fasted and prepared for surgery.

What sort of anaesthetic will I be given?

The vast majority of arthroscopies are performed under a general anaesthetic.  Occasionally, for medical reasons, you may be given a spinal anaesthetic instead. This is normally decided with the anaesthetist.

The anaesthetist will also inject local anaesthetic into the knee at the time of surgery to provide post-operative pain relief.

How long does the surgery take?

Surgical time varies according to the complexity of the problem.

Most procedures are completed within 30 mins.

Keyhole surgery knee operation
Will I have stitches?

The incisions used during knee surgery are small (5-7mm) and do not normally require stitches.

When do I go home?

Yorkshire Knee Clinic’s knee specialists usually perform keyhole surgery as ‘day-case’ procedures and you will probably go home the same day.

In some circumstances, however, there may be an overnight stay.

It is important to have a responsible adult with you at home for 24 hrs following a general anaesthetic.

Will I require painkillers?

Yes. The hospital will provide you with advice and painkillers before you leave hospital.

When do I remove my dressings?

Following your knee operation you will have two types of dressing over your knee: small dressings directly over the wound, and a large wool and crepe bandage above that.

The larger bandage can usually be removed 24-48 hrs following your operation.

The small dressings over each wound should be left for 5 days and then removed providing all leakage has stopped.

Re-apply a fresh, dry dressing or plaster if there is still any leakage from the wound.

Will I need physiotherapy when I leave hospital?

Most patients require additional physiotherapy following discharge.

If that applies to you, before you leave hospital your physiotherapist will demonstrate some simple exercises you can do at home. You must perform these regularly for them to be effective. However, it is possible to over-exercise after an operation and this can cause increased swelling and pain.

If in doubt consult your physiotherapist.

Will I need physiotherapy when I leave hospital?

Most patients require additional physiotherapy following discharge.

If that applies to you, before you leave hospital your physiotherapist will demonstrate some simple exercises you can do at home. You must perform these regularly for them to be effective. However, it is possible to over-exercise after an operation and this can cause increased swelling and pain.

If in doubt consult your physiotherapist.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction FAQs

When will I be admitted to hospital?

You will normally be admitted on the same day as your knee surgery.

You will be advised prior to admission the time up to when you can eat and drink. This will allow you to arrive fasted and prepared for surgery.

What sort of anaesthetic will I be given?

The vast majority of Yorkshire Knee Clinic’s ACL reconstructions are performed under a general anaesthetic. Occasionally, for medical reasons, the anaesthetist may decide to give you a spinal anaesthetic.

The anaesthetist will also inject local anaesthetic into the knee at the time of surgery to provide post-operative pain relief.

How long does the surgery take?

Surgical time varies according to the complexity of the problem. Our knee surgeons complete the majority of ACL reconstructions within 60 mins.

If your knee has suffered additional damage (such as a meniscal or cartilage tear) then the procedure is likely to prove more complex and take longer.

When do I go home?

Most patients are fit to be discharged home within 24hrs and some patients go home on the day of ACL reconstruction. Your knee surgeon will tell you about the plans for your discharge based on the specific surgery and physiotherapist recommendations.

It is important to have a responsible adult at home with you for 24 hrs following a general anaesthetic.

Will I require painkillers?

The hospital will provide painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory tablets for the first few days following ligament reconstruction.

Regular painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory medication are important to allow early mobilisation.

ACL torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament
When do I remove my dressings?

You’ll find two types of dressing over the wound.

Remove the large wool and crepe bandage 24-48 hrs following your ligament reconstruction.

The small dressings over each wound should be left on for 5 days and then removed once all leakage has stopped.

Re-apply a fresh dry dressing or plaster if there is still any leakage from the wound.

What can I do at home after ligament reconstruction?

For the first few days, try to keep the leg elevated when sitting down and rest as much as possible. Do your exercises frequently.

You can put as much weight through the knee as you find comfortable but the muscles around the knee will be weak and your Yorkshire Knee Clinic knee surgeon will encourage the use of crutches for a few days.

The hospital physiotherapists will give you specific advice prior to discharge from hospital.

When can I take a shower after ligament reconstruction?

You may take a shower or bathe from the day after ligament reconstruction providing you keep the wound areas completely dry. Provided the wounds have healed, they can be soaked from day 5.

When can I drive?

In order to drive safely you must have regained good muscle control of the operated leg. This normally takes at least two weeks following knee surgery.

Before you attempt driving, you should be confident that you are in full control of the car and be able to perform an emergency stop with no hesitation. If you are in any doubt, ask your knee specialist or physiotherapist.

When will I start physiotherapy?
Out-patient physiotherapy will normally start within a week of your ligament reconstruction. This must be with an experienced knee physiotherapist and will follow a structured programme in order to get the best results from your ligament reconstruction surgery.

There are important activity restrictions over the first few months following ACL reconstruction and your physiotherapist will fully explain these to you. If you ignore these restrictions there is a significant chance that the surgery will fail.

Read more about physiotherapy with Yorkshire Knee Clinic

When can I return to work?

This depends on your recovery from surgery and the type of work you do. Some patients have more complicated knee surgery which may require extra restrictions.

The majority of office workers can return within 2 weeks of ACL knee surgery. Those patients who need to walk/stand for long periods may need 2-3 weeks off work.

If you have a job that involves heavy manual work, carrying or lifting, you should not return to work until advised by your knee surgeon or physiotherapist.

Should I do exercises at home?

Before you leave hospital, your physiotherapist will usually demonstrate simple exercises you can do at home. You must perform these regularly and you should also apply ice frequently to reduce swelling.

Your physiotherapist will also explain further exercises to aid your rehabilitation.

For ACL reconstruction surgery to be successful, you must comply with the rehabilitation programme, which must be supervised by your physiotherapist.

What are the possible complications following ligament reconstruction?

Serious complications are uncommon following knee ligament reconstruction but can occur. These include infection, blood clots (or DVT – deep vein thrombosis), excessive swelling, bleeding and damage to blood vessels or nerves.

There is always a small risk that the reconstructed graft can rupture, in a similar way to the original injury to your ligament. This risk is greatest in the first 3 months following surgery. It is therefore important that an experienced physiotherapist supervises your recovery.

Warning signs following surgery you should look out for are:

  • Fever / chills above 38°C (100.4°F)
  • Persistent warmth or redness around the knee
  • Persistent or increased pain
  • Significant swelling, tingling or numbness in your knee/leg which is not relieved by elevating the leg for one hour
  • Increasing pain in your calf muscles
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

If you experience any of the above please contact the hospital for advice.

Knee Replacement FAQs

When will I be admitted to hospital?

You will normally be admitted on the same day as surgery.

You will be advised prior to admission the time up to when you can eat and drink. This will allow you to arrive fasted and prepared for your operation.

What sort of anaesthetic will I be given?

Knee replacements are performed under either general or spinal anaesthetic. Nerve blocks are sometimes also used. This is normally decided with the anaesthetist.

How long does the surgery take?

Surgical time varies according to the complexity of the problem.

On average Yorkshire Knee Clinic’s knee surgeons takes 60 minutes for a first time joint replacement. However you will be away from the hospital ward for longer than this to allow for your anaesthetic and initial recovery.

When do I go home?

Many of our partial knee replacement patients are discharged home after a single night in hospital.

Total knee replacements and some patient groups may involve a slightly longer stay of between 2-5 days.

Physiotherapy can be beneficial before & after surgery
Will I require painkillers?

The hospital will give you painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory tablets for the first few days following surgery. If you need more painkillers, speak to your doctor.

When do I remove my dressings?

You’ll get advice on dressings (if still required) before you leave hospital.

What can I do at home?

You will need to do frequent exercises each day to build muscles and recover the full range of movement.

It is important to remain active at home and Yorkshire Knee Clinic’s knee consultants encourage regular walks.

When resting, try to elevate the leg to reduce swelling. Most knees, however, remain swollen and warm for many weeks.

When can I take a shower?

You may take a shower or bathe when you get home once wounds have healed, and providing you can get safely into and out of the bath/shower.

When can I drive?

In order to drive safely you must have regained good muscle control of the operated leg and pain must be controlled. Remember, you are not allowed to drive whilst taking some types of painkillers.

Driving after knee surgery is usually possible in 3-6 weeks, but this varies depending on which leg is affected and whether the car is manual or automatic.

If you are in any doubt, seek advice from your knee surgeon or physiotherapist.

When can I return to work?

This depends on your recovery from surgery and the type of work you do. Some patients have more complicated surgery which may require extra restrictions.

The majority of office workers can return within 3-4 weeks. If you have a job which requires you to stand for long periods you may need 6-8 weeks off work.

Will I require physiotherapy after leaving hospital?

Most patients require additional physiotherapy following discharge. Before you leave hospital, your physiotherapist will usually demonstrate simple exercises you can do at home.

You must perform these regularly for them to be effective. Bear in mind that it is possible to over-exercise after knee surgery, and this can cause increased swelling and pain.

If in doubt consult your physiotherapist.

What are the possible complications following surgery?

Most patients have an uncomplicated recovery but knee replacement is a major operation which carries risks of complications. The main risks associated with knee replacement are:

  • Infection – the chance of a serious deep infection is approximately 1-2%, although 2-3% may have a treatable infection which settles down over a short period. A serious deep infection is a major complication which may require further (often extensive) surgery to treat it.
  • Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) – blood clots affecting the lower leg can occur although precautions are taken to reduce the chance of this. They are often not serious and are treatable.
  • Pulmonary Embolus – a rare but serious complication where a blood clot obstructs some of the blood vessels in the lung.
  • Nerve damage – it is common for patients to be left with a patch of numbness on the outside of the scar on the front of the leg. It is extremely rare to have nerve damage which causes weakness in the leg or foot.
  • Bleeding
  • Stiffness

Warning signs you should look out for are:

  • Fever / chills above 38°C (100.4°F)
  • Persistent warmth or redness around the knee
  • Leakage from the wound after leaving hospital
  • Persistent or increased pain
  • Significant swelling, tingling or numbness in your knee/leg which is not relieved by elevating the leg for one hour
  • Increasing pain in your calf muscles
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain

If you experience any of the above please contact the hospital for advice.

If You Are Experiencing Knee Swelling, Pain Or Locking, Or If You Have Suffered A Knee Injury

Talk to the knee consultants at Yorkshire Knee Clinic

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