Knee arthroplasty: when is it needed and is it safe?

Written by: Mr Rohit Jain
Edited by: Robert Smith

Mr Rohit Jain is one of the UK’s leading orthopaedic hip and knee surgeons. We know that in some cases, knee issues can be addressed with non-invasive procedures. However, when knee issues are severe, a knee arthroplasty (knee replacement) may be needed.

We recently spoke to Mr Rohit Jain to find out when exactly a knee arthroplasty would be performed, whether it is safe and what the success rate is.

When is a knee arthroplasty needed?

Knee replacement surgery is usually needed when a knee is worn out. Just like when a tyre has worn out, you need to replace it. Of course, this will depend on how bad the pain is and how it is affecting and interfering with day-to-day activities.

Knee surgery will be recommended when a patient is experiencing pain that is steadily worsening and interfering with physical activity.

A knee arthroplasty may be needed if a patient notices:

  • worsening deformity or shape of the knee
  • pain, deformity, loss of function in the knee
  • walking for more than 15-20 mins becomes painful and also if walking up slopes and stairs
  • they are not able to do household chores or shopping

All of these are indications that the patient needs to see a surgeon and have investigations done. The patient will first be offered painkillers, injections and physiotherapy, before the matter of knee surgery is put on the table.

If these treatments fail to provide relief or improvement, then knee replacement surgery will be needed in order to restore quality of life that has deteriorated as a result of having a weakened knee.

Therefore, the most common scenario in which knee surgery is recommended is when the patient is experiencing pain, deformity, stiffness, loss of function, with the fact that the patient has exhausted all conservative measures and it is affecting their quality of life.

Is a knee arthroplasty safe?

It is a major surgery, and has benefits as well as risks. Most people who have the surgery will not have serious complications. This is a procedure that is well-rehearsed and performed by a team.

Patients have a pre-operative assessment making sure all medical sections of history are optimised before the patient is expected to have surgery.

There is a risk associated with having general anaesthetic, in which the risk of dying is approximately 1 in 100,00 people. The risk of complications occurring during knee replacement surgery can be 1 in 20 cases, but most can be corrected and overall it is a safe surgery.

The main risks associated with knee surgery are pain, bleeding, infection, nerve damage, blood clots and anaesthetic risks.

What is the success rate of knee arthroplasty?


Recent literature reviews and current scientific research shows that the replaced knee still functions for 25 years. Just over 80 % are still functioning after 25 years. By and large, the success rate is good.

The success rate also depends on how you care for your knee arthroplasty, and how you use your knee afterwards.


If you currently have hip or knee issues, you may want to book an appointment with a leading orthopaedic hip and knee surgeon such as Mr Rohit Jain . Visit his profile today for more information on his expertise and appointment availability.

By Mr Rohit Jain
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Rohit Jain is a highly-experienced consultant orthopaedic surgeon in London, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks, Orpington, Maidstone, Chatham, and Ashford who specialises in hip, knee and trauma. His areas of expertise includes primary hip replacement, hip revision surgery, knee replacement, knee arthroscopy and hip and knee injections.

Mr Jain completed his specialist training on the prestigious North West Deanery Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery Training Program. After his training, Mr Jain accomplished his sub-specialist fellowship in hip and knee arthroplasty at the Orthopaedic and Arthritic Institute at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada.

During his time there, he was awarded a fellowship from the University of Toronto. This was further complimented by his Sir John Charnley Arthroplasty fellowship at the world-renowned Wrightington Hospital in the UK.

Mr Jain's sub-specialist experience further includes the National BOA Transitional Lower Limb Arthroplasty fellowship and the Academic Exchange Program at the world-renowned EndoKlinik in Germany. During his orthopaedic training, Mr Jain also completed a postgraduate diploma in Orthopaedic Engineering from Cardiff University.

Mr Jain is actively involved in teaching and training medical students and is the Clinical and Educational Supervisor for junior doctors. He is an advanced trauma life support instructor. Mr Jain is a trainer on the Fellow Royal College of Surgeons exam revision courses. 

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