Should You Get Both Knees Replaced at Once

If you have been seeing a knee surgeon for progressive knee problems, the time may come when a knee replacement is the best solution. For patients needing both knees replaced, you may wonder if having them both done at once would be an advantage. Here’s what you need to know about having a simultaneous knee replacement. 

Knee_SurgeonDuration of Procedure

As you can imagine, having both knees replaced during the same surgery extends the length of the surgery. This means you will be under anesthesia for a longer period, and your body may be under stress for more time. For people who are in good general health this may not be an issue, but for anyone with a compromised cardiovascular or pulmonary system, this can raise your risk of complications. A simultaneous knee replacement may also increase the odds of having a blood clot after the procedure — a problem that is quite serious and can lead to death or stroke.


Patients who have their knee surgeon replace each knee separately (called a staged replacement procedure) are able to rely on the “good leg” while they are recovering. In the case of a simultaneous replacement, recovery can be difficult in the beginning until the new knees gain some stability and strength, and the pain decreases. The good news is that the time spent in rehabilitation is shorter for patients with simultaneous replacements than if they’d had each knee replaced at separate times.  

One Surgery

A major benefit to having a simultaneous knee replacement is that you will have one surgery and one hospital stay. This can help in financially and means that you’ve avoided the risk of another round of anesthesia and surgical complications.

The decision of whether to have a simultaneous or staged knee replacements should be carefully discussed with your knee surgeon and your physician. Talking to both doctors about the risks and benefits of each procedure will help you make an educated decision on which strategy to pursue to get back on your feet.

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