Total Knee Replacement

Table of Contents

What Is Total 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. A total knee replacement surgery will replace two or all of the damaged compartments in the knee.

This surgery helps relieve pain and restore function in patients who have difficulty walking. It is an effective and safe procedure that has helped many patients regain mobility and independence.

Why Is a Total Knee Replacement Needed?

Knee replacement surgery is usually recommended for patients with knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions damage the cartilage in the knee, which can cause 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.

When patients experience these symptoms, and all other non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted, knee replacement surgery or knee arthroplasty becomes a good option to relieve the pain and restore mobility.

Your surgeon will ask about your knee pain and general health to assess your suitability for 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.

Total knee replacement surgery can address and eliminate knee pain from osteoarthritis.

After surgery, patients will:

  • Have better motion and flexibility
  • Be able to stand and walk for longer periods
  • Regain independence of mobility

For patients who are still actively working, this allows them to continue gainful employment without worrying 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.

As with any surgery, total knee replacement surgery also has its risks. Although not common, it is possible to experience:

  • 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
Schedule an Appointment Today, Early Diagnosis Can Prevent Further Complications

If you are currently experiencing knee pain and joint pain, and wish to seek treatment, contact our clinic to schedule an appointment. Seeking treatment early allows our doctor to appropriately diagnose and treat your knee condition, preventing potential further complications.

What Can You Expect During a Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

A total knee replacement can take 1-2 hours, and it is done under General or Regional (Spinal) Anaesthesia. The surgical team will advise you on any required pre-surgery evaluation tests or fasting.

Step 1: The surgeon will make an incision between 10-15 cm at the front of the affected knee.

Step 2: The damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the knee.

Step 3: The metal implants and polyethylene liner will be accurately sized and attached to achieve a balanced, stable knee joint.

Step 4: Lower limb deformities such as bow-legged knees will be corrected to a neutral alignment.

Step 5: The incision is closed with sutures and a drain is inserted to remove any fluids.

You will be monitored 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.


After surgery, patients may be required to stay in hospital for 1-2 days for observation. Any pain can be managed with prescribed medication, and patients will be recommended to start physical therapy as soon as possible.

With consistent physical therapy, patients can return to normal mobility within 4-8 weeks, but full recovery may take several months. While a total knee replacement may not restore the full range of motion in the knee, the arthritis symptoms and pain will reduce.


After a knee replacement surgery, patients may need to use walking aids or crutches for a few weeks. Since mobility is reduced, patients should prepare their homes to be conducive to their everyday tasks.

Patients can make their homes a safe environment for recovery by:

  • Installing safety bars in the shower
  • Having a stable chair and footstool to elevate the leg
  • Installing a toilet seat riser
  • Ensuring your daily needs are accessible on a single level without climbing stairs

Patients may also meet with their physiotherapist to discuss rehabilitation exercises post-surgery. Before your surgery, the doctor may recommend you to stop taking certain medications.

What Is the Cost of a Total Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore?

According to MOH’s fee guideline, a knee replacement surgery costs an average of $36,000 at a private hospital. This fee is calculated before deducting your personal insurance plans (Integrated Shield Plans, Medishield Life) and MediSave payouts. The maximum MediSave payout you can obtain for a simple knee replacement surgery is $4,650.

Dr Kau is on the panel for most major local insurers. Talk to our team and your insurance agent to understand the out-of-pocket fees required for a knee replacement surgery.

Get In Touch With Our Orthopaedic Specialist Today

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

It can take 4-8 weeks to return to normal mobility and several months for a full recovery.

Modern knee implants last an average of 15 years. For younger patients below 55, the polyethylene component can wear out with time. The construct may require revision and a second replacement later in life.

It is possible to return to sports after a knee replacement, but certain high-impact activities such as running, jumping or weight lifting are not recommended. Other sports like swimming and cycling can help to strengthen the knee.

Patients will be able to climb stairs after a knee placement but will require walking aids in the first few weeks after surgery.

Patients may take an average of 6 weeks to walk normally without any walking aids after a full knee replacement.

Knee replacement surgery is usually recommended to patients over 60.

Most health insurance plans in Singapore cover knee replacement surgery. Contact your insurance provider for the exact amount you can claim from your plan.

Insurance Partners

We collaborate with most major insurance partners in Singapore to ensure our patients’ peace of mind in their treatment journey. We understand the importance of financial considerations and offer assistance and financing information to our patients. Please reach out to our staff and we will be happy to provide you with the information you require.

Patient Feedbacks

Dr Kau was very careful and explained clearly the surgery procedures. After surgery, the care while I was in hospital was closely monitored and he even came during weekends! The hip so far has recovered and healed. His ‘predictions’ of when what can happen are so accurate. Trust him.

Ming Lee Chua

Dr. Kau is an exemplary doctor who is experienced in his field and is very patient with his patients. He walked me through the details of my knee condition and addressed all my concerns. Thanks to Dr. Kau, I had a better understanding of my ACL and MCL injury and the various treatment options available. His advice and treatment have been very valuable to me.

Ethan Chan

I had a very successful total hip replacement done by Dr Kau 4 years ago. 4 months after the operation I was back walking, cycling and swimming. The beautiful job gave me much confidence Dr Kau is most professional and has such great doctor patient communication.

Teo Pek Suan Diana

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