Total knee replacement in the older patient


Mrs Henning is 80 and has just had her second total knee replacement - before this recent surgery she could not walk for more than 10 minutes, but now she is doing really well. 

Mrs Henning first came to see me back in September 2017. She had had a very successful right total knee done by Neil Thomas 10 years ago but had had two years of increasing knee pain on the left side. Her pain was all medial and she was in varus and was really quite incapacitated.

On the 17th of January 2018 we proceeded to a left total knee replacement. I was hoping to do a partial but as is sometimes the case there was a grade IV lesion when we looked in and inspected on the lateral side, so we abandoned the uni and went for a total instead.

Pain after knee replacement

When I saw Mrs Henning on the 9th April for a follow-up she was just three months down the line and doing extremely well with very little pain and an excellent range of motion. She really has had a superb outcome from the surgery and in fact did so well that at two weeks when I reviewed her she had no pain and I think could already bend to 100 degrees.

Total knee replacement surgery can be a very painful procedure but with large volume local anaesthetic infiltration in appropriate locations and with a good anaesthetic team and with the surgery carried out in the way that we do now we can achieve total knee replacement surgery with very little pain. I think pain is a major issue for patients and is obviously a frightening concept, but I think patients like Mrs Henning illustrate that even in elderly individuals you can get a great early result from a knee replacement and experience very little discomfort.

knee replacement
Adrian Wilson

Adrian Wilson

Age is of course a factor in any surgery, but this patient shows that even at 80 a total knee replacement can be very successful and not necessarily all that painful.

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