During a knee replacement surgery, damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the knee joint and replaced with a prosthesis. It is a surgery that requires work on your part to recover from, but the outcome for most people is an improved quality of life and increased mobility. It may be time to talk to your doctor about knee replacement surgery if you are experiencing any of the following:
· Knee pain keeps that you awake at night or disrupts your sleep
· Difficultly performing basic household chores because of knee pain
· Difficulty with self-care tasks such as bathing or using the bathroom because of knee pain
· Difficulty walking
· Knee pain that restricts your activity to the point that you are unable to visit friends, attend social functions, or travel for vacation
· Knee pain that doesn’t respond to medication and other conservative treatment methods
If you decide that knee replacement surgery is right for you, you can expect a 3- to 5-day hospital stay, followed by a recovery time that ranges from 2 months to a year. Some doctors will recommend a stay at a rehabilitation center after your hospital stay and before you return home. If this is the case, you can expect to be there for 7 to 10 days. Physical therapy after knee replacement surgery usually lasts 1 to 2 months and may be in home or at an outpatient facility.
While you are in the hospital immediately following your surgery, some things you can expect are:
· You will have a large dressing on your knee with tubes in place inside your knee for drainage.
· You will have an IV in your arm and possibly a urethral catheter to empty your bladder while you are immobile.
· Compression stockings on your legs will reduce your risk for blood clots by aiding the flow of blood in your legs.
· You will be given a device called a spirometer to use for breathing and coughing exercises, which help to prevent pneumonia.
· You will likely have a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine to exercise your leg while you are in bed. A CPM machine continuously bends your knee to build muscle strength and keep your new joint limber.
Before your surgery, make sure to prepare your home for your arrival post surgery. There are things that you will need to do to make your homecoming and recovery easier. Check with your hospital’s discharge planner for a complete checklist. Here are some things to keep in mind:
· Install grab bars in the bathrooms of your home that you plan to use.
· Make sure you have ramps or chair lifts in places where stairs may be a problem.
· If you have an upstairs bedroom, consider moving to the first floor if you can. You should avoid the use of stairs until your doctor or physical therapist gives you the go-ahead.
· Consider boarding pets, particularly those that jump up, until you are sturdy on your feet.
· Make and freeze meals ahead of time and place all dishes, pots, and pans at waist level so that you will not have to stoop or reach for them.
· Remove all area rugs, clutter, and other tripping hazards from the floor.
· Connect yourself with others who have had knee replacement surgery and plan to have a supportive contact that you can call when you are feeling blue.
With proper planning, commitment to physical therapy, and support, you can ease your experience and put yourself on the road to a recovered mobility and a better quality of life. For more information on surgery or to schedule a free appointment with an orthopedic specialist who can walk you through the process simply call 1-888-741-5119. We are in Hudson, Florida, conveniently located in Pasco County, and are available for our patients when they need to ease knee pain.
Knee Replacement (National Institute of Health)
Knee Joint Replacement (National Institute of Health)
How Do You Know It’s Time for Surgery (Arthritis.org)
Post Surgery Homecoming (Arthritis Today)