Knee surgery procedures

Restoring your mobility for the long term

If arthritis or knee injury is limiting your everyday activities, such as walking and bending, and you still experience pain when resting, your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery. It can also overcome the stiffness in your knee that limits your ability to move or lift your leg.

Knee replacement surgery is considered after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. If anti-inflammatory drugs or if other treatments, such as physiotherapy, are providing little pain and mobility relief, you may wish to discuss this option with your doctor.

How does knee replacement surgery work?

How does knee replacement surgery work?

When an orthopaedic surgeon performs a total knee replacement, the goal is to give you positive long-term results by:

  • Providing pain relief,
  • Restoring mobility and function, such as walking and sitting
  • Improving stability,
  • Correcting any deformity.

Knee replacement is a surgical procedure where a diseased or damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint.

It involves removing some small sections of bone where your femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and patella (kneecap) come together and replacing them with a combination of surgical-grade metal alloys and highly wear-resistant plastic.

The replacement joint is designed to move just like a healthy human joint, and will help with pain and restore the bending movement of the knee.

Total knee replacement

Watch these short videos to see how a knee replacement surgery is performed.


Partial knee replacement

The most common surgical knee intervention performed for osteoarthritis (OA) is a total knee replacement. During this procedure, the natural joint is removed and replaced with an artificial implant. This treatment option is usually offered to patients with advanced osteoarthritis of the knee. Total knee replacement may not always be optimal for patients with early to mid-stage OA in just one or two of the patellofemoral (top), medial (inner) or lateral (outer) compartments of the knee. If you are suffering with partial OA of the knee, your surgeon may recommned a partial knee replacement.


How long will my new knee last?

How long will my new knee last?

Around 40,000 knee replacements are performed each year in Australia and New Zealand and for the vast majority of patients, joint replacement provides relief from pain and improved mobility for many years.

Many knee replacements can last 10 to 20 years or more, but all joints wear with time and may require revision surgery. According to the National Joint Replacement Registry in Australia, primary total knee replacements done for osteoarthritis have a success rate of 93.9% at 11 years. 1

Your activity levels and weight are two factors that influence the rate of wear. Some of the newer materials can mean joint replacements last longer. By understanding the activities to avoid, you can also prolong the life of your new joint.



1 Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry. Annual Report, Adelaide, AOA 2012

Is knee replacement surgery right for me?

Is knee replacement surgery right for me?

Surgery is a difficult decision. Talk with your surgeon to understand all the risks and complications before making a decision to undergo total knee replacement, but remember osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, and that means the disease, and your pain, is likely to get worse over time.

Your surgeon can guide you on whether knee surgery is likely to be beneficial in your situation.

Watch this short video to see if you might be a candidate for knee surgery. Please note this information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and you need to discuss all option with your doctor.

What can I do about knee pain?

What can I do about knee pain?

Relieving knee pain and regaining mobility 

There are many things you can do to help relieve your knee pain and keep you active and mobile. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor about which options will benefit you most. To help you discuss treatments, here are some of the options your doctor may discuss with you, depending on your condition and pain levels: 

Treatment options

Are you experiencing knee pain and restricted activity? What treatment options are best for you? 

This short video gives you some useful information about knee treatment options. Contact your GP for more information.

Next Steps

Contact your GP or health professional to discuss your options