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What to Expect in a Knee Surgery

What to Expect in a Knee Surgery

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 90 percent of people who undergo knee replacement surgery experience a significant decrease in their pain levels. A part of this reduction in pain can rest on the recovery period and how well prepared the patient is for knee surgery recovery.

Patient’s will get best results by actively participating in the recovery process, getting plenty of rest, following a healthy diet, and complying with their knee surgeon’s recovery plan.

Every patient responds to knee surgery recovery differently. The average recovery time for knee surgery is between four and seven weeks to walk with minimal assistance (such as with a cane or walker). If recovery takes longer than seven weeks, or you are experiencing significant pain, talk to your knee surgeon about your treatment options.

What to Expect After Knee Surgery

After undergoing knee replacement, most patients spend one to three days in the hospital. During your stay, a surgical drain will be inserted to prevent fluid from accumulating around your knee. The drain will stay in place for at least 24 hours while your surgeon monitors your progress. Before you are discharged, you must be able to:

  1. Get in and out of bed without help

  2. Eat, drink, and use the restroom independently

  3. Walk with the help of crutches, a cane, or a walker

  4. Perform physician- or physical therapist-approved home exercises

You will most likely experience mild or moderate swelling around your knee for three to six months after surgery. Swelling can be combated with RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation. Compression stockings can also help reduce swelling of the knee, as well as prevent the formation of blood clots.

Any swelling that occurs before you get up in the morning or that is accompanied by leg pains can be a sign of infection or blood clot, and should be reported to your surgeon immediately.

Preparing Your Home for Recovery

Proper healing after knee surgery depends largely on your ability to prevent re-injury. Taking the following precautions can lower your chances or re-injury and decrease the level of post-recovery pain that you experience.

  1. Arrange your furniture to accommodate the use of a cane or crutches

  2. Remove loose rugs to prevent slipping, especially rugs on tile or wood floors

  3. If your bedroom is upstairs, make a place to sleep downstairs

  4. If possible, install a grip bar or a shower chair to help you shower alone

  5. Keep pets away from the recovery area

  6. Restrict play time with small children to activities that don’t strain or bump your knee

If you live alone, you may want to plan for additional assistance at home. If you don’t have any nearby friends or relatives who can live with you for a short time, you may require extended in-home care or safety modifications to your home. Your discharge planner will help you review these options with your insurance company.


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