Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore

What is Knee Replacement Surgery?

Known as knee arthroplasty, a knee replacement surgery involves removing the damaged or diseased bone and cartilage and replacing them with metal implants that act as artificial joints. The procedure aims to resurface damaged portions of the knee joint, improve knee function, and relieve chronic knee pain that cannot be treated in any other way. The procedure may involve a total knee replacement, which involves replacing the entire knee joint, or a partial knee replacement, which consists of replacing only the damaged part.

When is Knee Replacement Surgery Needed?

Knee replacement surgery may be considered when non-surgical interventions — such as medications, physical therapy, or injections — do not effectively alleviate chronic knee pain or improve function. It is often recommended for individuals with specific conditions that lead to knee pain, including:

  • Osteoarthritis: Common in older adults, characterised by the wear and tear of tissue at the ends of bones, resulting in chronic pain
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Results in inflammation of the synovial membrane, causing pain and stiffness in the knee joints
  • Traumatic Arthritis: Occurs from sports injuries, leading to cartilage damage in the knee

The need for knee replacement is indicated by severe pain, stiffness, swelling, limited mobility, and difficulty performing daily tasks. Should knee damage be significant, your doctor might recommend knee replacement surgery as the next step.

Knee Replacement Surgery

Before the surgery, you might receive general anaesthesia to ensure you're asleep throughout the procedure. An alternative option is spinal or epidural anaesthesia, which numbs the lower half of your body while you stay awake.

After anaesthesia administration, the surgeon will create an incision in your knee to access the joint. The next steps involve removing and replacing damaged knee sections with metal implants. Typically, three implants are used to cover the surfaces of the femur, tibia, and patella. The surgery is finalised by inserting a plastic articular spacer between the metal components to improve the stability of the implant.

Recovery Period for Knee Surgery

After knee replacement surgery, patients usually spend 3 to 5 days in the hospital, with the duration varying based on the surgery's complexity. Within 12 to 24 hours post-surgery, you'll be encouraged to stand, initially with crutches' support. These may be necessary for up to 6 weeks as you gradually regain strength and mobility. Pain management is crucial, so painkillers will be prescribed to help ease discomfort. The pain is expected to diminish over 3 months, but achieving full recovery and maximum joint function might take at least a year.

Dr Gowreeson Thevendran

MBChB (Bristol), MRCS.Ed, Dip. Sports Med.Ed, FRCS.Ed ( Trauma & Ortho. ), FAMS (Singapore)

Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is an orthopaedic surgeon in Singapore who specialises in lower limb orthopaedic conditions, trauma, and fracture surgeries of both the upper and lower limbs. He received his medical education from the University of Bristol and completed his surgical training in the UK and Canada. Before establishing his private practice, he served as Chief of Foot & Ankle Surgery, Department of Orthopaedics at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.

Dr Gowreeson Thevendran’s Qualifications and Awards:

  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, University of Bristol, England
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh
  • Diplomate Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh
  • Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore
  • SICOT PIONEER Founders Award 2020
  • 2015 European Foot & Ankle Society ‘Best Podium Presentation’ Award
  • 2013 Singapore Orthopaedic Association Junior Travelling Fellowship
  • 2012 NHG Critical Talent Special Recognition Award
  • 1998 Enid Lindt Prize in Clinical Surgery
  • 1995 Public Services Department Full Medical Scholarship

Languages Spoken:

  • English, Malay, Tamil

Frequently Asked Questions About Knee Replacement Surgery in Singapore

1How effective is total knee replacement surgery?
The effectiveness of total knee replacements can vary, influenced by factors like the patient's age, health status, and the severity of their knee condition. Research indicates that a significant majority of knee replacement patients — up to 95% — report improved pain levels and enhanced mobility post-surgery. This highlights knee replacement as a potential consideration for those suffering from severe knee joint problems.
2What are the risks or complications for knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery, like any medical procedure, has potential risks, including infection, blood clots, nerve damage, or reactions to anaesthesia. There's also a possibility of post-surgery issues like joint stiffness or instability. Therefore, discussing these risks with an orthopaedic specialist is crucial to making an informed decision.
3Can I return to sports after knee surgery?

Yes, returning to sports after knee surgery is possible, especially with a successful recovery and adherence to your rehabilitation programme. Typically, the journey back to sports begins after significant healing, around 6 weeks post-surgery, with gradual reintroduction of physical activity. Full recovery and the ability to participate in sports at your previous level of intensity may take at least a year. Consulting with your sports injury doctor in Singapore is crucial to tailoring a safe and effective plan for your return to sports.

4Does insurance and medisave cover knee replacement surgery?
Coverage for knee replacement surgery may vary by the procedure and your specific policy. Patients are advised to consult the clinic to verify MediSave eligibility and insurance coverage.

Clinic Location


OrthofootMD@Mount Alvernia Hospital

Dr Gowreeson Thevendran is currently an orthopaedic surgeon with Island Orthopaedic, a one-stop care centre for orthopaedic health under Healthway Medical Group. He specialises in treating lower limb orthopaedic conditions, as well as trauma and fracture surgery of both the upper and lower limbs. Prior to establishing his private practice, Dr Gowreeson was Chief of Foot & Ankle Surgery at the Department of Orthopaedics at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). Today, he continues to serve the Orthopaedic Department at TTSH as a visiting consultant.

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