Bone surgery

Sources of information on knee replacement

Most people we interviewed wanted information about partial knee replacement surgery when they found out they were eligible for it, including what would happen during the operation and how long it would take to recover. They knew little about knee replacement, though some had heard about the experiences of family, friends or neighbours. People found out more about the surgery and recovery from health professionals they saw at the hospital, the internet, and other people who’d had this type of operation before.
The surgeon told people more about the surgery, including the risks and benefits. Many remembered being told that they would probably need a partial knee replacement but, if total knee replacement was necessary, the surgeon would know this only after looking inside the knee during the operation. They felt prepared for this and the possible complications of the operation. Everyone we interviewed had a partial knee replacement apart from Kevin:
Those we interviewed praised the verbal information they were given and the opportunity to ask questions. They also wanted to know how long the operation would take and what would happen before and after it.
This video explains what happens on the day of surgery.

Jennifer said she had lots of good information from the surgeon, who told her that she had arthritis and what the operation would involve. She was given an information booklet and looked at it many times before surgery and during recovery. Most people were given written information such as leaflets or a booklet and some said they didn’t need any more information. Several read the leaflets carefully at different times, while others, like Peter, said he had had only a quick look but other members of the family had read them properly.
Many people talked about the tests and information given to them by different professionals at the pre-operative assessment (see ‘Views and experiences of healthcare from people who had a knee replacement’). This included verbal, written and video information. During this appointment people were shown a new type of computerised information that includes 3D pictures and videos that can be watched and listened to on the internet. This is called Technology Enhanced Patient Information (TEPI). The 3D videos are designed to help people understand why they need partial knee replacement surgery, what it involves and the different stages involved, from the pre-operative assessment to recovery.
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This video explains more about the pre-operative assessment

The people we spoke with talked about the TEPI videos they had been shown at the pre-op assessment. A few watched the video with the physiotherapist while others were left to watch them alone or with a relative. The physio was available afterwards to answer questions. Most people found the videos informative, helpful and said that they prepared them well for surgery. Knowing what would happen before, during and after the operation was reassuring, Lesley saying that the videos were a ‘great help’, Penelope that they ‘settle your mind’ and Jacky said that you ‘don’t go in blind...they’re good and encouraging’. Some people watched them again at home with family, many saying that the videos gave them all the information they needed and were reassuring for family to understand more about the operation.
Some people felt that video information like the TEPI videos should be available before every operation. They liked the format, found it easy to understand and could access them easily from home. Geoff first had a partial knee replacement when he was around 58 and a second one when he was 64. He watched the TEPI videos at home with his wife and kids.
Although many people felt that the TEPI videos were an excellent source of information, some also said that they were a good accompaniment to the leaflets they were given and that they liked having both. Jennifer said the videos were ‘helpful’ but when she was recovering at home it was easier to browse through the booklet she’d been given than switch her computer on.
David and Lesley said that it could be difficult to remember what the TEPI videos were about a few weeks after watching them. A leaflet, though, can be helpful because it is easy to pick up and read whenever it’s needed. A few people couldn’t remember what the videos were about, though they did recall being shown some. Nancy, aged 81, was happy with the care and information she’d been given in hospital and didn’t feel the need to know more. She never uses a computer and her husband remembered more about the TEPI videos. He also watched the videos again at home with Nancy. Keith said that he remembers the videos were helpful but couldn’t recall a lot more, other than that they were short and simple.
Penelope and Jacky watched the videos in hospital but had problems when they tried to access them at home. Penelope clicked on the videos but nothing happened and she wondered if she had a problem with her computer. 
Peter felt that patients should be given a choice about whether they want to watch the videos – some people may be ‘squeamish’ and find them off-putting. 
Hugh didn’t get a chance to watch the videos at the pre-op assessment and would have liked a lot more information.
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Some people said they had all the information they needed and felt no need to look for more. Janice said that the TEPI videos were ‘fantastic’ and she preferred not to look for more information on the internet because it could be unreliable and contradictory. A few people had looked for more on the internet before the pre-op assessment but were mainly interested in looking at the hospital website.
Several people who’d had partial knee replacement surgery before knew what to expect when having the second knee done. Phillip described his second knee operation as a ‘walk in the park’ compared to the first. Penelope had had her left knee replaced in 2007 and the right one in 2014. She felt no need for more information about the surgery itself. Phillip, on the other hand, said that although he knew what would be involved, watching the TEPI videos helped to refresh his memory. Jennifer had seen the videos before her first knee replacement in January and then again in March 2014 when she had the other knee done, and found them helpful on both occasions. Several other patients having their second operation said the videos were new to them but confirmed what they’d already known. Having partial knee replacement a second time, they felt more relaxed and prepared for surgery and any information from health professionals was further reassurance.
Many people talked about the exercise booklet that the physiotherapist gave them before they left hospital. Participants usually wanted to know more about exercises and short and long term recovery (see ‘Information about exercises for knee replacement’ and ‘Wanting more information about knee replacement’)

Last reviewed August 2018.

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