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Patient Information

Removal of Metalwork

Why am I having surgery?

You are having surgery to remove the metalwork in either you hip or knee. This metalwork will have been put in during a previous operation. Now that your bones have healed and the problem with you hip/knee has been corrected the metalwork can be removed. This is done to prevent problems with the metalwork as you get older.

What happens during my surgery?

Having your metalwork taken out is a much smaller operation than when you had it put in. Once you are asleep your surgeon will make a small cut (usually through the same scar as your original surgery) so that they can get to the metalwork. The screws and plates are then removed.

Going home – what to expect after your surgery


Following the removal of your metalwork, you can get up and go home the same day as your surgery depending on how well you are feeling. Most people can get up and walk normally on their leg but sometimes, will be given crutches to help make walking more comfortable. If needed you will be seen by a physiotherapist before you go home who will remind you how to use crutches properly and how to get up and down stairs safely. It is very important that you try and get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible after your surgery.


It is very important that you start to move your hip/knee as soon as possible after your surgery. This will make sure that your leg stays strong and does not get stiff. You will be shown some exercises that you need to do regularly at home (at least 3 times a day) within your pain limits. These are on the back of this information leaflet.  


It is important that you get back to your normal daily routine as soon as you can after your surgery.

Pain relief

It is normal for your hip/knee to hurt after your surgery. You will be given some pain relief to help with the pain. You will be given pain relief to take home with you, if you run out then see your GP.


Ice can be helpful to reduce pain/swelling. It is important that you do not get the dressings on your knee/hip wet so cover them with a plastic bag. Wrap a bag of ice/frozen peas in a damp towel and put it on your knee for 10-15 minutes. This can be repeated every 3-4 hours.

Wound care

Your wounds will need to be kept clean and dry. The nursing staff will provide you with more information about wound care when you go home.


There are no specific instructions about sleeping after having your metalwork removed. You can sleep in whatever position you find comfortable however if you have had surgery on your knee it is important not to sleep with a pillow under it. This ensures that your knee does not become stiff and that you are able to straighten it fully.    

Driving / Work  

You should not drive whilst using elbow crutches. Please discuss this further with your Consultant or Physiotherapist. When you can return to work following your surgery will depend on what job you do. Your physiotherapist or consultant will be able to advise you on this.      


It is important that you allow your leg to heal properly after having your metalwork removed. Initially the bone can be a little weaker where the screws and plates have been taken out. Due to this it is important that you do not complete any impact activities for 6 weeks after your surgery. These include any form of running, jumping and trampolining.

If you have any questions or need any advice about your exercises then please contact the Physiotherapy Department between 8am - 4pm Monday to Friday on 0121 728 9442.

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital | T: 0121 685 4000 |