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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

About hip & knee replacement

A total knee replacement showing a diseased joint, with the bones then cut and shaped, and the implants and metal in place to reform the kneeDuring a joint replacement operation (also called arthroplasty) some, or all, of a damaged or diseased joint is replaced with an artificial one. It is usually done when a joint has become very painful, is causing disability, and can no longer be managed with nonsurgical treatments. Hips and knees are the most common joints to be replaced.

The NHS website has good sections explaining hip replacement and knee replacement.

Will I get publicly funded joint replacement?

Four steps of a hip replacement. Diseased bone is cut out. Metal ball joint is inserted into femur and metal socket is put in hip bone. The two are then brought together to reform the joint.West Coast DHB's Orthopaedics Department faces a huge demand for joint replacement surgery. Because of this, GPs will only refer people who are suitable for surgery, and have tried all nonsurgical treatment options. Your GP will make sure you try all treatment steps before considering referring you to the Orthopaedics Department.

If you want surgery before it is available through the public system, talk to your GP about being referred to a private orthopaedic surgeon in Christchurch, Nelson, or Dunedin.

Many people with arthritis can manage well by making lifestyle changes and using nonsurgical treatment, and will never need surgery.


On the next page: Before & after hip & knee replacement surgery

Information provided by the Canterbury DHB. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Last reviewed October 2016.

Page reference: 455034

Review key: HIHKR-48747