Knee Replacement: What to Expect Before, During & After

Knee replacement is the most common joint replacement surgery, but many people don't know what to expect before, during and after the procedure.

If you have any concerns, be sure to discuss them with your doctor prior to your knee replacement procedure. The procedure takes approximately two hours and you may be kept in the hospital anywhere from 2 to 4 days following surgery. Here's a guide on what to expect before, during and after knee replacement surgery.

You will have a physical exam, blood tests and MRI. If you are overweight, your doctor may ask you to lose weight to decrease stress on your new joint. Your doctor may have you stop taking certain medications, like blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs, and may prescribe you antibiotics to take. Have someone available to take you to and from the hospital and someone to assist you at home once you are discharged.  Eat a light meal the night before the surgery, but you may be asked to fast after midnight.

There are two types of anesthesia that can be used during the procedure: general anesthesia or spinal/epidural anesthesia. During the procedure, your doctor will make an incision in the skin and remove the damaged cartilage and bone. The surgeon will prepare the remaining bone and place the artificial joint into position; then it will be cemented within the bone. The incision will be closed and a drain may be left to allow fluid to flow out.

Immediately after the procedure you will be taken to recovery and will be closely monitored. A splint or brace will be positioned to hold your knee in the proper position. You will have pain after the procedure and your doctor may prescribe pain medication. Your doctor will give you detailed post-procedural instructions that may include light exercises, physical therapy, blood-thinning medication and wound care.

If you would like more information on knee replacement, visit our Health Library online. To learn more about the Regional Center for Orthopedics, visit us online or call 727-819-2929 to be directed to our orthopedic specialists.

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One Response to Knee Replacement: What to Expect Before, During & After

  1. great info. I think tproper education of patients before surgery regarding recovery helps them having realistic expectation.

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