What are the possible disadvantages of a knee replacement?

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There are some possible disadvantages with knee replacement surgery:

  • Most people rate the replacement joint about three-quarters normal, but it'll never be as good as your natural knee.
  • You'll probably still have difficulties with some movements because most knee replacements aren’t designed to bend as far as your natural knee. Although it’s usually possible to kneel, some people find it uncomfortable to put weight on the scar at the front of the knee.
  • You may also be aware of some clicking or clunking in the knee replacement.
  • You may have some numbness on the outer edge of the scar to begin with. This usually improves over about two years but it’s unlikely that the feeling will completely return to normal.
  • A replacement knee joint may wear out after a time and may become loose.

Most knee replacements will last for 20 years or more, so younger patients are more likely to need a repeat knee operation at some point in later life. The chances of needing repeat surgery are increased if:

  • you’re overweight
  • you're involved in heavy manual work.
  • you play vigorous sport or run.

Although your knee can be replaced again if necessary, revision surgery is more complicated and the benefits tend to lessen with each revision.

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