Information regarding the surgery and what to expect can be found at the here
If you are going to see an orthopaedic surgeon with chronic knee pain, they may recommend a knee replacement.
It may be time to have knee replacement surgery if you have:
What do you need to think about ?
Is there any alternative treatment that might delay or reduce the need for surgery?
The best possibility here is physiotherapy.
There are newer procedures like stem cells or robotic surgery but are thet yet proven?
A major issue in joint replacement surgery is the choice of the type of artificial joint chosen by the surgeon. You should discuss the prosthesis to be used with your orthopaedic surgeon. There are two issues – cost and reliability.
The Commonwealth Government has developed a list of artificial joint types and the minimum benefit (and sometimes a maximum benefit) that should be paid by your health insurer. Normally, if the selected joint is on this list “The Prosthesis List” your health fund should cover the full cost of the prosthesis. However, sometimes the hospital charges a fee higher than the minimum and then you will have an out of pocket expense.
You should confirm that your health insurer will pay for the type chosen.
Some surgeons choose a prosthesis that is not on this list and THIS CAN ADD SUBSTANTIAL EXTRA OUT OF POCKET COSTS for the procedure. If it is not on this list, your PHI may not pay and the Private Hospital may charge you instead, sometimes many thousands of dollars. This should be discussed with your surgeon as to why they are choosing one not on the list and if you are not satisfied, you should seek a second opinion.
In addition to the Prostheses List, the Australian Orthopaedic Association maintains a National Joint Replacement Registry (AOANJRR) which assesses the evidence for each type of prosthesis as to how long it lasts, and how often it needs to be replaced.
You should ask your surgeon how the type of joint he/she is recommending rates on this registry. If its too new to have been rated, it may be worth asking for one that has been in use for longer and its reliability is well tested.
There is an Annual Report available from the Registry, but it is very large and complex. If you want to peruse the list we recommend you read the Lay Summary first.
Following joint replacement surgery there is a need for ongoing physiotherapy to restore full function.
This can be done by visits to a physiotherapist or patients may be offered the chance to be admitted to a Rehabilitation Hospital for a period or it can be provided in your own home.
The preferred choice depends on cost and circumstances.
If you have no one to support you at home, then a period as an inpatient can be very convenient.
If you have good support at home, then regular visits to a physiotherapist either in the public or private sector or if offered, having a physio come to your home is just as effective.
Inpatient rehabilitation can add significantly to the cost of the procedure.
A recent article discussed the pro and cons of home rehab.