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Knee Revision Surgery

What is knee revision surgery?

Sometimes, a knee replacement can fail, in which case your surgeon may recommend knee revision surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon will remove the original prosthesis and replace it with new components. The surgery is effective in relieving knee pain, and improving mobility and function.

A knee replacement can fail for a number of reasons. In some cases, the artificial components that were cemented onto the bone can loosen, causing pain and discomfort. This loosening can occur as a result of high-impact physical activity, excessive weight or in cases where the bone has not grown onto the prosthetic materials properly.

In cases of infection, a knee implant may loosen, causing instability and pain. Knee revision surgery is usually recommended.

How does it work?

During knee revision surgery, your surgeon will remove the old components, check for and treat and infections or other issues, and carefully remove the old prosthesis or parts of it. He will then prepare the bone surface and replace the components with new pieces.

Your surgeon may opt for one of several techniques, depending on the reason for the procedure.

Some of these techniques include:


This method is usually performed in cases of infection. During this procedure, your surgeon will clean out any bacteria in the knee joint, and replace some of the artificial components. Usually, the plastic components are replaced, while the metal pieces are kept in place.

Staged surgery

In this case, all of the artificial components are removed and replaced with a temporary spacer. Then, a second surgery is performed when the infection has been adequately treated.

What are the benefits?

The potential benefits of knee revision surgery include:

  • Relief from pain
  • Better function
  • Improved stability
  • Better quality of life


Dr Chris McCready is an Orthopaedic Surgeon who prides himself on his ongoing search for new and innovative ways to ensure the best possible outcome for his patients.

Read more about Dr McCready.


Suite 304, Netcare Linksfield Hospital, 24 12th Avenue,
Linksfield West, Orange Grove, Johannesburg, 2192

011 647 3571

011 647 3691