Knee Replacement

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If you are experiencing joint pain and suspect you may be suffering from conditions related to the knee, hip, shoulder, spine, foot, ankle, elbow, wrist, or hand - allow Dr Kau to set you on the path towards recovery. Our orthopaedic specialist, Dr Kau Chung Yuan is experienced in treating patients of all ages with varying orthopaedic conditions. You should not have to be in pain, make your appointment today.


1. What is Knee Replacement Surgery?
Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty , involves replacing the damaged cartilage and bone in the knee with metal implants and high grade plastic components. This surgery helps to relieve pain and restore function in patients who were otherwise having difficulty walking. It is an effective and safe procedure which has helped many patients regain their mobility and independence.

2. Who needs Knee Replacement Surgery?
Patients with Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis will have damaged cartilage and knee joints. This damage can lead to severe and disabling knee pain. Stiffness and knee swelling are also symptoms of arthritis. With moderate osteoarthritis, you may find episodes of knee pain becoming more frequent, even with simple tasks like walking, climbing stairs, or getting in and out of a car. In severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, knee pain can limit and shorten your walking distance. A bow-legged appearance and deformity will be present.

When patients experience these symptoms, knee replacement surgery or knee arthroplasty becomes a very good option to relieve the pain and restore mobility.

Your surgeon will ask about your knee pain and general health to assess your suitability to undergo surgery. He will examine your knee to check for stiffness, loss of motion, and stability. X-rays of the knee will be needed to evaluate the degree of osteoarthritis as well as your overall limb alignment. MRI scans may be needed if your condition is at an early stage of degeneration.

3. What are the types of Knee Replacement Surgery?

Knee replacements can be Unicompartmental (also known as Partial Knee Replacement) or Total Knee Replacement. The knee is normally divided into 3 compartments which have cartilage. Osteoarthritis may affect one compartment more than the other two. If only one compartment is predominantly affected by osteoarthritis, you may be suitable for a partial knee replacement. Your surgeon will decide with you which type of knee replacement is suitable for you.

4. What are the benefits of a Knee Replacement?
There are many benefits to a Knee Replacement. It addresses and eliminates knee pain from osteoarthritis. After surgery, the knee will have better motion and flexibility. Patients are able to stand and walk for longer periods of time. They regain independence after their surgery and are no longer afraid of travelling over longer distances. For patients who are still actively working, this allows them to continue gainful employment without the need to worry about knee pain. For patients who have retired, the surgery allows them to enjoy their retirement and consider activities such as travelling abroad and participation in low impact sports.

5. How is a Knee Replacement performed?
A knee replacement is done under General or Regional (Spinal) Anaesthesia. The surgical team will advise you on any pre-surgery evaluation tests or fasting that is required. You won’t feel any knee pain during the surgery. A nerve block can be administered by your Anaesthetist to allow for better pain control after the surgery.

During the knee replacement, your surgeon will make an incision between 10-15cm at the front of the knee. Your surgeon will remove damaged cartilage and bone from the knee. The metal implants and polyethylene liner will be accurately size and placed to achieve a balanced, stable knee joint. Lower limb deformities such as bow-legged knees will be corrected to a neutral alignment. Dr Kau uses Computer Navigation or Robotics during the surgery to help patients get the best accurate and consistent results.

Knee replacement surgery takes 1 – 1.5 hours to complete. You will be monitored before and after the surgery in the surgery centre before returning to the ward for rehabilitation. Pain medications will be prescribed to aid you in your physiotherapy and recovery.

6. What is Computer Navigation and Robotic-Assisted Knee Replacement?
Knee replacement surgery requires your surgeon to correct the lower limb alignment, and perform precise bone cuts to allow the new implants to be placed accurately within the knee joint. For years, surgeons have used traditional instruments to align the knee.

Dr Kau has harnessed technology to help achieve consistent results in his knee replacement surgeries. He uses Computer Navigation as a standard for all his patients. Computer Navigation provides the surgeon with “live” accurate data to ensure the knee and lower limb are well aligned and balanced.

As an additional option, Dr Kau is also certified and trained in Robotic-Assisted Joint Replacement for the hip and knee. The Robotic knee replacement uses computer data as well as a robotic arm to assist the surgeon in removing damaged cartilage and bone from the knee joint. For more information, refer to our resource on Robotic-Assisted Joint Replacement.

7. What are the Risks of a Knee Replacement?
Risks and complications after a knee replacement are not common. These include:

  • Infection of the knee
  • Damage to nerves and blood vessels around the knee
  • Bleeding
  • Stiffness
  • Blood clots
  • Polyethylene liner wear over time and implant loosening

8. What is the Cost of a Knee Replacement in Singapore?
The professional fees for Knee Replacement Surgery can range from $8,000 to $12,000 at a private hospital according to MOH’s Historical Transacted Bill Sizes and Fee Benchmarks. This is however before taking into account your insurance (e.g. Integrated Shield Plans, Medishield Life) and MediSave payouts. In addition, Dr Kau is on the panel for most major local insurers. Speak to our team today and we can guide you through the claims process.

9. What is the Recovery after a Knee Replacement?
Patients are able to stand and take steps within 24 hours after surgery. Most patients are able to be comfortably discharged 2 to 3 days after surgery. You will need a walking aid for the first 4-8 weeks and your knee will get progressively stronger. Physiotherapy is important and useful. Return to everyday activities depends your pre-existing condition and surgery required. Your surgeon will discuss with you the best way forward and tailor a recovery plan for you.

10. How long does a Knee Replacement last?
Modern knee implants last an average of 15 years. For our younger patients <55 years of age, the polyethylene component can wear out with time and the construct may require revision and a second replacement later in life.

11. Why choose OrthoKau for your Knee Replacement Surgery?
Dr Kau is an experienced hip and knee surgeon. He is a knee specialist and is Fellowship Trained and has subspecialty training in Adult Reconstruction surgery which involves primary, complex and revision knee replacement surgery. He has been practicing as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon since 2016. Meet the surgeon here at The Orthopaedic Surgeon