Knee Replacement Surgerywebmin
During knee replacement surgery, the damaged joint is replaced with a new artificial joint. A layer of bone is removed during surgery from both the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) and replaced with an artificial surface. The back of the patella (kneecap) may also be resurfaced during the procedure. Your surgeon will discuss with you the procedure and can answer any questions or concerns you might have.
Preparing for Surgery
There are many steps you can take in the days and weeks before your surgery to put yourself on the road toward a successful recovery.
Bring a family member or friend with you to your appointments and class before surgery. You will also want to start thinking about your support system after discharge.
The optimal discharge location is your home with a support system to assist you. Every patient recovers at varying speeds. How much care you will need will depend on how you feel and how well you are moving. You will need someone to help care for you for a week or two after the surgery. You will also need someone to drive you to therapy and doctor appointments. It is helpful to have your support person present during your therapy in the hospital. This will allow the therapist time to teach that person how to provide the support you will need at home. If you have concerns about returning home after your hospital stay please let your surgeon and care team know so can those items can be discussed. For a small number of patients, a short stay at a nursing facility may be needed. If necessary, we can assist you in making these arrangements in conjunction with your insurance company.
- Good nutrition is important in the healing process. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet including fruits, vegetables and lean protein.
- Be sure to drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. These can be water, juice or non-caffeinated soda.
- In the time leading up to your surgery, be sure to keep your bowels regular. This will help prevent problems with constipation after surgery. Constipation is often a side effect of pain medications.
- Make sure all necessary dental work is completed before surgery. For any dental work done after surgery, you must take antibiotics before a procedure to help prevent infection. You will need to do this for at least two years or longer after your surgery. Please consult your surgeon.
- Smoking increases the risks of complications during surgery and recovery. If you need information on how to quit, please ask.
- Please take good care of your skin on the leg to be operated on. Any scratches from things like yard work or pets could lead to a canceled surgery. If you do develop any abrasions or rashes, please contact your surgeon’s office.
- Remaining as active as your pain will allow before surgery will keep your muscles strong. Your muscles provide support that you will need to recover after surgery. Recommended exercises begin on page 9. Please begin these before surgery.
- Remove loose throw rugs, which can get caught in your walker. Be careful with slick floors.
- Remove bathmats from all bathrooms.
- Pick up any clutter and clear pathways. Your walker or crutches will take up more room than you are used to.
- If you have stairs, make sure you have a sturdy handrail.
- You may need a raised toilet seat. If it is difficult for you to stand up from the toilet now, it will be more difficult after surgery. A seat with armrests is nice if you do not have a counter close by to steady yourself. You can also have grab bars installed.
- Prepare some meals ahead of time and have them in the freezer to make mealtime easier.
- Fill any necessary prescriptions so you can have enough of your daily medication to last you several weeks after your surgery.
- Anticipate what you will be using for ice packs and have them ready (gel packs, ice in a bag, large bag of frozen peas).
- Store frequently used items in an easy to reach place.
Post Operative Care
Together we will create a plan to meet your goals for a safe discharge. The plan will include assisting you in obtaining equipment or other support you may need.
Most patients return home after discharge from the hospital. In order to go home you need to meet the following criteria:
Here are the activities you can expect:
- Be in stable medical condition
- Be able to get in and out of bed with minimal help
- Demonstrate safety while walking on a walker
- Be able to navigate stairs if you have them
- Have help at home in order to assist you as needed
- Have your pain managed by oral medications alone
When you do go home you will continue your physical therapy with a home exercise program as instructed by home health physical therapists. This therapy usually starts the day after you are discharged from the hospital.
Our staff will assist you in setting up service if you have not already done so.
Throughout your stay, we will instruct you about how to care for yourself when you leave the hospital. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to ask a member of our staff as soon as possible.
Everyone’s needs vary as to how much medication and how long they will need to take it. Most people will need to take something the first couple of weeks in diminishing doses. You can try using an over the counter medication such as Tylenol if you would like. We expect you to have some pain with your therapy, but you should only take the medication when you need it. Also, remember to ice and elevate your leg periodically during the day to help with the discomfort.
- Blood clots
- Loosening of the metal components
- Prolonged pain
- Prosthetic wear
You will be given an initial follow-up appointment with your surgeon when discharging from the hospital. It is very important that you keep in touch with your surgeon and get periodic x-rays to make sure your joint continues to stay healthy and the metal components are not loosening. How often you need to be seen will be determined by your surgeon, but it will be your responsibility to make those appointments.