All About Knee replacement surgery

Knee replacement surgery (also called knee arthroplasty) relieves pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Knee arthroplasty helps restore lost mobility, correct knee distortion and improve the quality of life of the patient.

Knee replacement surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures performed today by orthopedic surgeons.

The success rate of knee replacement surgery is very high. Normally, most patients do not need help to walk after the rehabilitation period.

Which patients should have knee replacement surgery ?

Knee replacement surgery consists of replacing a knee joint with an artificial joint.

Degenerative arthritic diseases (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) are usually the main causes of knee replacement surgery.

Knee arthroplasty is usually performed on adults over 60 years old, because degenerative diseases usually appear at this age.

In the case of young people, knee replacement surgery is rare and it is usually due to traffic accidents or serious injuries. In these cases, natural knee repair is often impossible, so knee implant is the only option.

Knee replacement surgery is a delicate intervention. So firstly, an attempt is made to preserve the natural knee by using non-invasive treatments that alleviate pain. The problem appears when these medications are no longer effective, the knee deformity is very pronounced and the patient cannot lead a normal life without pain. At this point, knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) is the best option to relieve pain, regain mobility, correct knee deformation and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Orthopedic specialists will tell you if, in your case, it is necessary to undergo knee arthroplasty surgery. We will also provide you with the cost of the knee replacement surgery.

Partial knee replacement or total knee replacement?

The partial knee replacement only replaces a part of the knee joint.

If only a portion of the joint is damaged by arthritis, a partial knee replacement can be a good option. In some cases, partial knee implant is used when the patient is elderly, light, and with little physical activity. It can also be an effective implant when the patient does not have very severe arthritis, or the joint deformity is slight.

Partial knee implants have been in use for several years and the results are good. Despite this, in most cases total knee implants is used.

The total knee replacement artificially replaces the basic components of knee anatomy (femoral, tibial and patellar components). Damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the knee joint. Then artificial pieces are placed on the knee. Most people with degenerative arthritic knee diseases undergo total knee replacement surgery.

Orthopedic specialists will advise you on the type of knee implant that best suits your case. We will also tell you the cost of a knee replacement surgery.

What materials are used in total knee replacement surgery?

The material used in total knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) depends on many factors, including the characteristics of the patient and his age. Among the most used materials are metal; stainless steel; cobalt, chrome, and titanium alloys; polyethylene and ceramic.

These materials allow a very similar mobility to that of the damaged joint.

What are the risks of knee replacement surgery?

As in all surgical procedures, knee replacement surgery presents certain risks. However, many of them can be minimized by following the recommendations of the orthopedic surgeons.

The main risks of knee replacement surgery are bleeding and infection. To minimize the risk of infection, intravenous antibiotics are administered one hour before surgery and 24 hours after surgery.

There is also a risk of thrombosis within the venous system of the legs. For this reason, a preventive treatment is administered to the patient in order to dilute blood and prevent the formation of clots. Immobility increases the risk of clots formation, so from the day after the intervention the patient must be mobilized following the specialists’ guidelines.

What is the success rate of knee replacement surgery ?

Knee replacement surgery is one of the most common surgical interventions performed today by orthopedic surgeons.

Knee arthroplasty relieves the patient’s pain, helps him regain mobility, corrects the knee deformation and improves his quality of life. The success rate in Spain as well as in the rest of European countries is very high. Most patients do not need help for walking after full recovery.

What are the stages of knee replacement surgery?

Preparation for knee replacement surgery

Once the date of the knee replacement surgery has been specified, the patient must go to the Diagonal clinic facilities to carry out a series of preoperative examinations. You will have blood tests, telemetry, and a profile and axial knee x-ray.

How long does knee replacement surgery take? Is it painful?

The patient will not notice any type of pain during the intervention. Total knee arthroplasty is performed under general or epidural anesthesia. The duration of knee replacement surgery is usually 2 hours.

The immediate postoperative

The recovery period depends on each patient. You are usually encouraged to start walking soon after the intervention. The team of physical therapists will instruct the patient in the rehabilitation and use of crutches. The Diagonal clinic schedules a couple of daily rehabilitation sessions throughout the patient’s stay in the clinic. The admission to the clinic is usually 6 days. When discharged, the patient usually leaves the clinic on his own foot, only with the help of crutches.

Specialists highlight the importance of wound care. The patient must take care of it and avoid any infection.

Regular physical activity is a key element in recovery after a knee replacement operation. The patient should include in his routine the exercises explained by the doctor or the physical therapist. The better and more regularly exercises are performed, the shorter the recovery time becomes. It is recommended to start walking as soon as possible after the operation in order to strengthen the knee muscles as soon as possible.

Normal activities can be restarted 3 to 6 weeks after knee replacement surgery.

Living with a knee implant

Total recovery after knee replacement surgery is 6 to 7 months.

Orthopedic surgeons advise following these guidelines to extend the life of your knee implants:

Quit smoking: Tobacco is even more harmful in the case of people with knee prostheses. It increases the risk of the prosthesis becoming infected or loose.

Maintain an adequate weight: Being overweight shortens the life of the knee prosthesis. Its parts wear out sooner.

Do moderate physical exercise: It is important to maintain a certain level of physical activity since a toned musculature will make the knee prosthesis work better. However impact sports can quickly deteriorate or displace your knee prosthesis.

Carry out periodic reviews: the reviews allow future complications to be detected in time.

Monitor infections: Knee prosthesis has a high risk of being invaded by bacteria. To avoid infections, it is necessary to heal wounds well, maintain good body hygiene, especially teeth and hands hygiene.

Avoid falls: An impact on the knee prosthesis can dislodge some of its parts. It can also break the bone in which it is implanted, or break some of its components.

Will I be able to play sports after knee replacement surgery ?

People who want to play sports after the intervention, must take into account several aspects. Contact sports can quickly deteriorate or displace the knee prosthesis. Non-recommended impact sports include: jogging and soccer (although it is adapted for veterans).

However, each patient is unique and there are numerous documented cases of patients who were able to practice sports with caution between 6 and 9 months after the intervention. Still, risks are present. The fact that the person has previously practiced sport reduces the probability of injury. There is a long list of sports that are not incompatible with a knee prosthesis: steps, walking, cycling, dancing, skiing, Pilates, among others.

In conclusion, everything depends on the age, the physical shape of the patient and type of implant used.

The Diagonal clinic has specialists in sports medicine. Many athletes attend to our facilities for clinic’s consultations or to undergo different surgeries. If your passion is playing sports you can be sure that our experts will know how to give you the necessary guidelines so that you can continue practicing your sport with caution.

FAQ about knee replacement surgery:

How long do knee implant last?

Despite the fact that knee implants have a limited life, current materials are increasingly resistant. The average duration of knee implant is estimated to be between 15 and 20 years, even when subjected to regular physical activity. Some factors that influence its duration are: the material and fixation used; the weight of the patient; and the physical activity they perform. A knee implant can last less when a complication arises. But there are also cases in which it can go up to 25 years.

Can I undergo a knee replacement surgery if I am allergic to metals?

In the case of patients allergic to metals, orthopedic surgeons will identify, through a series of tests, which metals the patient is allergic to in order to assess which is the most suitable alloy. There are knee implants that are made with different alloys and materials (titanium, aluminium, chrome, cobalt) and it is possible to use hypoallergenic materials.

Can both knees be operated at the same time?

It is possible to operate both knees but not at the same time. Each intervention requires its own rehabilitation process. Therefore, the surgery will always be carried out in two stages.  Surgeons advise to wait 4-6 months between the first knee surgery and the second. Everything will depend on the evolution of the patient.

What are the benefits of minimally invasive surgery techniques?

The minimally invasive surgical techniques currently used for knee replacement surgery allow for a shorter hospital stay. The average stay is 4 days. Minimally invasive techniques also decrease the risk of bleeding; recovery is faster and less painful. 48 hours after surgery, most patients control pain with paracetamol and conventional anti-inflammatory medication.

Can you live normal life after a knee replacement surgery?

Generally, normal activities can be resumed 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.

I am a foreign patient. Will the medical personnel speak my language?

Qualified personnel are placed at your disposal and they will advise you in your language and accompany you during all the hospital process. In case the doctor does not speak your language, a personal interpreter can accompany you throughout all your visits.

How much does a knee replacement surgery cost?

The cost of a knee replacement surgery depends on many factors. We would be delighted to answer your query. Please, fill in the contact form.

If you have any medical reports or examination results from other centres, we would appreciate it if you could send these tests to us by email so we can offer you the solution that best suits your needs. You can be sure that this information will always be treated with the maximum confidentiality.


Doctor Martín Casola, Daniel

Doctor Martín Casola, Daniel

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroplasty, hip and knee replacement, osteosynthesis, arthroscopy acromioplasty and stem cell transplantation
Doctor Aláez Penina, Jaume

Doctor Aláez Penina, Jaume

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroplasty, hip, knee and shoulder replacement and treatment of scapulohumeral periarthritis
Doctor Norberto Bayona, Eduard

Doctor Norberto Bayona, Eduard

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroplasty, hip and knee replacement and fracture surgery
Doctor Salvans Giralt, Xavier

Doctor Salvans Giralt, Xavier

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroscopic surgery, arthroplasty, hip and knee replacement, osteosynthesis and sports orthopedics and traumatology
Doctor Valls Elias, Artur

Doctor Valls Elias, Artur

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroscopic surgery, arthroplasty, hip, knee and shoulder replacements, osteosynthesis and sports orthopaedics and traumatology
Doctor Sánchez Navés, Rubén

Doctor Sánchez Navés, Rubén

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in upper limb surgery, arthroscopy and hip, knee, shoulder and elbow replacement surgery
Doctor Garcia Bonet, Jordi

Doctor Garcia Bonet, Jordi

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroscopic surgery, arthroplasty, hip and knee replacement, foot surgery (halux valgus, finger deformities) and pediatric orthopedics
Doctor González Navarro, Albert

Doctor González Navarro, Albert

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroscopic surgery, arthroplasty, hip and knee replacement and osteosynthesis
Doctor Ruiz Nasarre, Alberto

Doctor Ruiz Nasarre, Alberto

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in foot and ankle surgery
Doctor Bial Vellvé, Xavier

Doctor Bial Vellvé, Xavier

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in knee arthroscopy and ligament injuries
Doctor Rios Torondell, Joan

Doctor Rios Torondell, Joan

Knee replacement surgeon. Specialist in arthroscopic surgery, arthroplasty and knee replacement

Do you want more information about knee replacement surgery at Diagonal Clinic (Barcelona, Spain)?

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    Diagonal Clinic - Barcelona Espain - traumatology and orthopedic surgery - Clínica Diagonal

    Diagonal Clinic

    Carrer de Sant Mateu 24, 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona, Spain)

    Nearest Metro Stations: Can Vidalet / Pubilla Cases

    Diagonal Clinic - Barcelona Espain - traumatology and orthopedic surgery - Clínica Diagonal