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What is a knee replacement?

  • Knee replacement surgery involves replacing damaged parts of your knee joint with metal or plastic parts.
  • It's most commonly used to treat pain and stiffness in the knee joint caused by osteoarthritis.
  • It may be recommended if other treatments or lifestyle changes have not worked and knee pain is affecting your daily life.
  • Depending on the damage to your knee, it can be used to replace all of your knee joint (total knee replacement) or some of it (partial knee replacement).
  • You'll have the operation in hospital. It can take several months or more to fully recover afterwards.
  • Knee replacements can last for 20 years or more and can significantly improve daily life for people with knee pain.

Video: Knee replacement

This animation shows how knee replacement surgery is done and explains why it may be needed.

Media last reviewed: 1 April 2024
Media review due: 1 April 2027

Page last reviewed: 9 March 2023
Next review due: 9 March 2026