Knee replacement surgery, or arthroplasty, is a medical procedure typically recommended for older patients with different types of knee arthritis. During the procedure, damaged knee joint components are removed and replaced with a plastic or metal parts. The procedure is a great way to restore mobility, flexibility, and functionality of the knee – all while eliminating pain.
If you are going to be undergoing a knee replacement soon, it’s good to be aware of what to expect after the procedure. Recovery from a knee replacement can be lengthy and arduous, so the more you educate yourself and prepare for it ahead of time, the better.
Right After the Procedure
Immediately following the surgery, your provider will check your vital signs for stability and bring you to a designated hospital room to rest and be monitored. Knee arthroplasty requires an in-patient stay for recovery in most cases, so expect to be in the hospital for a few days.
Aftercare In The Hospital
Your provider will cover your wound with a surgical dressing to ensure protection as it heals. The site must be kept clean and dry at all times. In some cases, your doctor may use a tube to drain any excess blood from the knee area.
You can expect prescription pain medicine to take once the anesthesia completely wears off, as you will likely experience pain following surgery. You will also be given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
Since knee arthroplasty is a joint surgery, minor movements can help speed up recovery. The faster and more often you move, the better your recovery will be. You may even be asked to stand up on the same day of surgery.
A physical therapist will guide you in planning an exercise routine that works for you. While at the hospital, you will practice standing and walking with their help. They might have you use a continuous passive motion machine, allowing you to move your knee while in bed.
Your doctor will then determine when you can be released to go home. Depending on your recovery progress, they may recommend you to a rehabilitation center.
Aftercare At Home
Though the wound will look significantly better once you go home, you must keep the area dry and clean at all times. Make sure to keep your leg elevated when resting. You may apply a cold compress to the area to minimize swelling. For pain, you can continue taking painkillers prescribed by your doctor.
It’s encouraged that you continue doing minor movements, as well. Your physical therapist will expect you to follow a routine similar to what they did with you at the hospital. You may return to your usual diet at home unless your doctor suggests otherwise.
Things To Watch Out For
Pay close attention to how the wound looks and feels as it heals. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:
- Swelling, bleeding, discharge, strong odor, or redness in the wound incisions
- High fever
- Chest tightness and pain
- Sudden pain in your leg, ankle, calf, or foot
- Shortness of breath
Total Recovery Period
You can expect some pain and swelling for about three months after the surgery. For some, it can take a full year for inflammation to disappear completely.
In general, knee replacement surgery patients can resume doing daily activities in about six weeks. Patients can begin walking without their crutches by this point. Strenuous exercise or movement should be avoided for a few months longer.
The total healing period may take up to a year.
Knee Replacement Surgery In Kingsport, TN
Consistent wound care, exercise, and rehabilitation are essential for fully recovering from a knee replacement. An experienced knee specialist can guide you through the entire recovery process.
The experts at Associated Orthopaedics are ready to help you with all your knee-related issues. The team uses the latest technology and procedures to provide patients with effective and efficient care. We also offer other knee treatments, such as arthroscopy and ligament reconstruction.
We look forward to serving you!