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Success rates for knee and hip replacement in the UK

Knee and hip replacements are two of the most commonly performed operations in the UK today. Recent studies have shown that the rates of success for these two operations in Britain are among the best in the world.

This article on the subject of knee and hip replacements is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.


What is a knee replacement?

Knee replacements are most commonly performed on the over 60s, but due to dramatically improved techniques and materials, increasing numbers of younger people are undergoing this procedure. A total knee replacement involves substituting the entire knee joint with artificial parts (made of special metals and plastic), whereas a half knee replacement (also known as 'unicompartmental' or 'unicondylar' replacement) is carried out when some of the knee joint is still in good condition and can be kept.

What is a hip replacement?

A hip replacement is an operation to replace the ball and socket joint inside the hip with artificial parts (made of special metals and plastic). Replicating the natural movement of the hip, the new artificial joint can bring an end to constant pain and a great increase in mobility to those suffering with arthritis or other permanent damage. This operation provides a long-term solution for people with painful and damaged hips.

Success rates

Both hip and knee replacement operations are very common procedures, but they’re also fairly complex. The surgeons have to be specially trained in orthopaedic techniques and must “get it right first time” or patients will need a revision. In Britain, the rates for needing a revision are very low, with just one in seventy-five patients needing further corrective surgery within three years of the original operation. This result is better than many other countries across the world, and means that just 1.4% of patients who have either a knee or hip replacement need a revision.

In a recent study, it was revealed that the highest revision rates were for hip resurfacing and unicompartmental knee operations – both of which are fairly new surgical techniques. More research is needed over longer time periods to investigate why these two types of operations need slightly more revisions than the total replacements. However, many other nations who also run national registries to monitor joint revisions, such as Norway, Australia, Sweden, all report higher rates than the UK.

The Royal College of Surgeons recently issued a statement praising the good results for hip and knee replacement surgery, commenting that it’s “a credit to the nation’s orthopaedic surgeons and their teams.” (John Black, President of the Royal College of Surgeons).

It seems that Britain is the place to be if you need a hip or knee replacement operation.

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Success rates for knee and hip replacement in the UK
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