The Swans had hoped the 30-year-old Dutch international would battle through until January, but he was in discomfort against Norwich on Sunday.
The club have now decided the cartilage problem cannot be managed any longer and have booked him in for surgery
"The length of time he will be sidelined depends on the scale of the operation," a club statement said.
"Surgeons will explore the knee before carrying out work on clearing any loose ligaments and fragments of bone."
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