NHS England: A Call to Action
1,970 members360 posts

Waiting for knee surgery

I'm not sure if I'm posting this is the best place but here goes. I have been waiting for over 20 weeks for knee surgery with no prospect of when it will happen. I am in daily agony, off sick from work & a single parent. I have to have my surgery in a particular hospital due to my bmi and it appears that this makes me excempt from the 18 wk rule? Is this correct?

9 Replies

Hi Shaziebabes, sorry you are in a lot of pain. There are several things that can interfere with the eighteen week rule. There are more details on line on the NHS Choices web page. Although BMI should not be a bar it can impede your recovery so might be used as an excuse to delay. Only your GP can advise on the reason or the consultant. If there is only one hospital who can do it they may not be able to meet the 18 week criteria. Sometimes PALS can advise on how long the waiting is for particular ops at certain hospitals. I would go back to my GP if in your position. Knee ops do seem to be a long wait in many areas however.


Thanks for reply, yes, I have to have my op in a certain hospital because of my bmi and my consultant wants to do the surgery himself as I have a complex problem. However he only does nhs surgery at this particular hospital every 8 weeks and his next list is full. This means it will be next year before I have my surgery. My GP says I have to be prepared to wait as my surgeon is the best in his field but at what cost I wonder? I have contacted pals and not impressed I'm afraid . I feel abandoned and have calculated my wait since my initial referral to the consultant, minus time opted out to try to lose some weight, has been 36 weeks so far? Surely this is too long?


When I was on a waiting list in the past I had to wait nine months due to an operation risk. Delay does not always help the situation I agree. The time you wait for operations does not always correspond to the 18 week criteria as your experience shows they are allowed to extend the time if you need to loose weight, stop smoking or get your general health better for op and some of your delay is due to the surgeons waiting list. As you say he is the best so it should be worth the pain and wait in the long term. I waited two years this time for an op and it was only done once I was in pain and my GP insisted. So the criteria does vary. Hope it does go to plan this time for you, think of the extra weight you can loose so your recovery will be faster, that might make the waiting seem less of a drag. Take care you don't fall as that could complicate things every best wish for a pain free new year.


I don't think you have been abandoned, quite the opposite. It sounds from your description that it wouldn't be safe NOT to wait for this surgeon. I think this would be a different sort of post if something went seriously wrong. Try to keep your chin up.


I have waited 10 years and have always been told that I'm too young and too heavy. So no chance of getting on any type of list. At the end of the day, now that I've retired and have a little spare (cashed in part of pension), I'm going private. The advantage is that I have chosen a prosthetic that is warranted for 30 years, left knee in November and right knee in March if all goes well. I don't know how bad my knees were, the surgeon just said "they're totally buggered, we should replace them to give you greater quality of life", I think I'm going to get on with this guy, he speaks my language. Good luck.

1 like

And good luck to you .... Don't blame you for going private. I have no quality of life now and am confined to the house at 44 years old! I was given a date for my surgery- it was supposed to be Tuesday this week but they cancelled it. It has been rearranged for tues 4th November so I really hope they don't cancel again. I really cannot cope with this pain for much longer


hI ,

Try the Sports Clinics some do botox injections use tens & ultrasound machines .There are also PRP INJECTIONS maybe trial as expensive .Want instead of steroid ones for my spinal ligaments spasticity which have worn off. Maybe via the Pain clinic!!I paid for a very expensive MRI as could leave me housebound but GPs refused to refer to Royal National Orthopaedic hospital so back to square one now STILL not testing .The problem is Gps & Dentists allowing their admin to use Choose & Book inappropriately not using History or setting out a case or following up ?

Oh, in my area you can self refer to physios.Also MS therapy centres will take on other conditions for reduced payment but ignore urgent need form filling .


Hi shaziebabes, Sorry to hear that you are in lot of pain. What type of knee surgery do you need? I remember my brother who needed to undergo surgery because of meniscus tear he acquired from basketball. He waited for 36 long weeks for nothing! Can you imagine his agony? His knee hurts at the side and center and it was swollen (each day getting worse).

Waiting time is really a big issue of such surgeries here in US, so we decided to bring him to Mexico and under the care of Dr. Max Greig (an orthopedic surgeon around Puerto Vallarta | goo.gl/BlgrQ5) my brother’s first (and hopefully last) surgery was performed.

I’m so grateful that the surgery turned out successful!

I hope you’d be able to have your surgery as soon as possible, and if not, If I were you, I’d switch to other options like crossing the border.


Hi all, thought I'd just post an update in my post.... I've had my knee surgery- they found a ganglion cyst in the joint which explains the amount if pain. 7 days on and I'm doing well- onwards & upwards I hope!


You may also like...