Failed Total Knee Replacement

Why do knee replacements fail?

There are a number of reasons why total knee joint replacements fail. It can be due to one single factor or due to a number of different factors in combination with each other.

Common reasons for total knee joint replacement failing are:

  • Pain (a different kind of pain than the arthritis pain)
  • Infection (when bacteria get into the knee joint)
  • Mal-alignment (the knee replacement has not been put in the correct position)
  • Loosening (the knee replacement becomes loose)
  • Swelling (around the knee or the thigh and/or leg following surgery)
  • Instability (the knee feels unstable in certain positions, such that the patient does not trust the new knee)
  • Decreased activity (the patient is not able to perform the activities that they were once able to do)
  • Stiffness (The knee does not move as well or freely as the patient expects it to)

What to expect at the consultation?

When Nigel first sees you in his rooms he will ask you a number of questions:

  • Why was a knee replacement done in the first place?
  • When was the knee replacement done?
  • Who did the knee replacement?
  • Has the knee replacement always been sore?
  • What symptoms do you have now?
  • When did these symptoms first start?
  • Has anyone else seen you about your knee replacement?
  • What investigations have you had done for the symptoms you have?
  • What are your expectations for your knee replacement?

With these questions in mind, if you have had any investigations, and / or have copies of your original operation report, these will greatly aid Nigel in determining how to proceed and will also result in you not being subjected to further or unnecessary tests.

Nigel will need to do further investigations if they have not already been done. These may be in the form of:

  • Blood tests (to exclude infection)
  • X-rays (to assess the position and check for any loosening of the components)
  • CT scan (to assess for loosening of the components but also to check for bone loss, and abnormal rotation of the components)
  • SPECT Scan (to assess how the bone is responding to the knee replacement)

What to expect

  • Revision total knee joint replacement surgery is as painful as your original total knee joint replacement if not slightly more so.
  • Nigel and his Anaesthetist, along with the nurses, physiotherapists, and your GP will monitor your pain very closely over the first six weeks.
  • It is very important to seek medical advice if there is any increase in pain that you may not be able to explain.
  • It is also very important to seek medical advice if your knee feels warmer than usual, more red, if you start to feel sick, have fevers, sweats, chills or get the shakes. This may be a sign that infection has developed.

View Case Study - Failed Total Knee Replacement