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Knee-sy does it – will cheaper knee surgery be the answer?

A recent study suggesting that partial knee replacements could be better for many patients  is welcomed cautiously. However we ask will cheaper and quicker surgery get you the right result?

Corries are leading medical negligence solicitors. if you have been affected by medical negligence then call us FREE on 0800 655 6550 for a free no obligation chat.

Read here about our thoughts on a recent Oxford University study and how it might affect you.

The Statistics

There have been over 1 million knee procedures between 2003-2016. There were over 100,000 new knee replacements performed in 2016.

Of these the National Joint Registry estimates that 9% of these were partial knee replacements.

Corries wrote about knee replacements which can be accessed here

In that article we were concerned that a leading medical device supplies, Depuy had recalled a commonly used implant used in partial knee operations.

knee operation
Knee operations may be done as a partial procedure to save time and achieve a better result

The Report

A study by the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal sciences at Oxford University found that the less invasive procedure was being used less than it could be.

Most of the knee surgeries were for osteoarthritis.  The study formed the view that almost half of the patients would be suitable for a partial replacement. However the data up to 2016 showed only 9% were getting a partial knee replacement procedure.

Here is an  article from the Guardian about the paper here about the study. By way of balance there is a longer piece by agony aunt Virginia Ironside about her positive experiences using the partial knee operation procedure right here.

Why is this an issue?

The report went on to suggest that a partial replacement could offer better outcomes. In particular a partial replacement was noted to have several potential benefits including

  • more natural movement of the knee as less change is made to the joint
  • it could allow people to be more active more quickly following surgery.
  • the procedure is less invasive so should in theory allow for faster recovery
  • the partial operation carries fewer post operation risks.

There is also of course cost benefits of a smaller operation which may save money for the NHS.

Corries Comment

Knee implant surgery is performed on 100,000 people per year.  If there is a possibility that the large number of those could end up with shorter surgery times and quicker recovery that this is to be welcomed.

However clinical decisions needs to be made carefully. Therefore money ad cost should not be the only consideration.

The choice of the implant being used is also critical. Cheaper is not always better.

What should you do if you need knee surgery?

If you are likely to need knee surgery then you should ask your surgeon the following questions:-

  1. Is a full knee replacement an option and if not why?
  2. What device is being used and what is the recall rate ?
  3. Why are you favouring partial knee replacement and;
  4. What measures will be taken to avoid infection ?


Here is a link to Corries website about medical devices and the ways we can help you here

Corries are leading medical negligence and medical product solicitors. Our unrivaled experience can help you if you need to make a claim.  Call us for FREE on 0800 655 6550 if you think your medical treatment has left you suffering.

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