knee replacement timing

At the moment we are all trying to get to grips with Boris’s latest rules on what you can or can’t do, so understanding the long-term, collateral damage of COVID is almost too much to take on board. However, we are already seeing a very real impact on waiting lists for elective surgeries on the NHS, particularly for joint replacements.

COVID has been described as a ‘wrecking ball’ through NHS waiting times and it seems that the consequences for those that were waiting for knee replacement procedure will be significant.

This delay is more concerning in light of a recent study that found that most patients wait too long to undergo knee replacement in terms of improvement to quality of life.

What happens if I delay my knee replacement?

Researchers at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine discovered that when people waited too long, they lost more function, resulting in weight gain, depression and other associated health issues. The outcome of the procedure that they eventually undergo may also be less successful.

The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, followed more than 8,000 people with symptoms of knee osteoarthritis over eight years.

“People are waiting and waiting to have the procedure and losing the most benefit,” said lead researcher Hassan Ghomrawi, associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“When people wait too long, two things happen,” Ghomrawi said. “The osteoarthritis causes deterioration of their function. Some of them wouldn’t be able to straighten out their legs, affecting their walking and mobility. When you can’t get exercise, you can start to develop other health problems such as cardiovascular problems. You may also become depressed. The overall impact can be huge.”

Yet, timing is everything, as knee replacements have a certain longevity. To discuss whether a knee replacement is the appropriate option for you at this moment, call us on 020 3693 2127 to arrange your consultation with Mr David Houlihan-Burne.