More people are having knee replacements - each year in England and Wales 80,000 patients, with an average age of 69, undergo knee replacement surgery.
But, according to the Daily Mail, the success of surgery is far from guaranteed. Between 10 and 15 per cent of patients are unhappy with the result because of pain and stiffness or because the surgery has failed to restore the full range of movement. And 5 per cent are worse after surgery as a result of complications.
Speaking to Angela Brooks, orthopaedic surgeon Tim Wilton of the Royal Derby Hospital said: "Knee replacement is a good treatment for arthritis, but it isn't foolproof. The knee is the most complicated joint in the body. Five to ten times our body weight goes through the joint with every step. A key part of the surgeon's job is separating out those patients who might well benefit from knee replacement from those who almost certainly won't."
David Macdonald, orthopaedic surgeon at Chapel Allerton Hospital in Leeds, stresses that you shouldn't undergo knee replacement unless you have a severe problem: "If you replace a mildly rickety knee with an artificial knee, the patient will never be happy with it. If I had pain, but could still get out and play two or three rounds of golf a week, then I wouldn't have my knee replaced. But if I were a golf player and the pain and stiffness stopped me from getting out on the golf course at all, then I would."
The Daily Mail suggests that choosing a surgeon who offers the best chance of making your knee replacement a success story - first and foremost, advising if it will be worth the trouble - has to be the priority for patients. They canvassed 40 knee surgeons and asked them to recommend the top practitioners in their field. Here's their top 10:
- Tim Wilton - Royal Derby Hospital
- Chris Dodd - Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford
- Peter James - Nottingham University Hospital
- David Beverland - Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast
- Robin Allum - Wexham Park Hospital, Slough
- Paul Allen - Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow
- Richard Parkinson - Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral
- Neil Thomas - Basingstoke & North Hampshire Hospital
- Andrew Toms - Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre, Exeter
- Rhys Williams - University Hospital of Wales