What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery?

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery?

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery?

Right after surgery

You will have intravenous (IV) antibiotics for about a day after surgery. You will also receive medicines to control pain, and perhaps medicines to prevent blood clots. It is not unusual to have an upset stomach or feel constipated after surgery. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you don't feel well.

What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

When you wake up from surgery, you will have a bandage on your knee and probably a drain to collect fluid and keep it from building up around your joint. You may have a catheter, which is a small tube connected to your bladder, so you don't have to get out of bed to urinate. You may also have a compression pump or compression stocking on your leg. This device squeezes your leg to keep the blood circulating and to help prevent blood clots.

Some surgeons recommend that you spend time in a continuous passive motion machine (CPM) to help keep your knee flexible. The machine has a cradle for your leg and is fitted to your leg length and joint position. The amount it bends your knee is adjustable. You may already have a CPM slowly bending and straightening your knee when you wake up after surgery. A review of studies shows that CPMs do not make a big difference in increasing the amount that the knee will bend or straighten. But some doctors still recommend them for certain people.

Your doctor may teach you to do simple breathing exercises to help prevent congestion in your lungs while your activity level is reduced. You may also learn to move your feet up and down to flex your muscles and keep your blood circulating.

The first few days

You will probably still be taking some medicine. You will gradually take less and less pain medicine. You may continue medicines to prevent blood clots for at least ten days after surgery.

Most people who have knee replacement surgery start to walk with a walker or crutches the day of surgery or the next day. And most people can bear weight on the knee if it is comfortable.

A physical therapist will help you gently bend and straighten your knee. Your therapist will also begin some simple exercises to help strengthen your leg muscles.

Rehabilitation (rehab) after a knee replacement is intensive. The main goal of rehab is to allow you to bend your knee at least 90 degrees—enough to do daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, sitting in and getting up from chairs, and getting in and out of a car. Most people can get considerably more bending than 90 degrees after surgery. But one of the things that affects how much bend you get after surgery is how much bend you had before surgery. To get the most benefit from your surgery, it is very important that you take part in physical therapy both while you are in the hospital and after you go home from the hospital.

Most people go home within a few days to a week after surgery. Some people who need more extensive rehab or those who don't have someone who can help at home go to a specialized rehab center for more treatment.

Continued recovery

After you go home, watch the surgery site and your general health. If you notice any redness or drainage from your wound, tell your surgeon. You may also be advised to take your temperature twice each day and to let your surgeon know if you have a fever over 100.5°F (38.1°C).

Rehab typically continues after you go home from the hospital until you are able to function more independently and you have recovered as much strength and range of motion in your knee as you can. You will continue to work on increasing the amount you can bend your knee and on building strength and endurance. Total rehab after surgery will take several months.

You will have an exercise program to follow when you go home, even if you are still having physical therapy. You should also take a short walk several times each day. If you notice any soreness, try a cold pack on your knee and perhaps decrease your activity a bit, but don't stop completely. Staying on your walking and exercise program will help speed your recovery.

Your doctor may recommend that you ride a stationary bicycle to strengthen your leg muscles and improve your knee bending. Swimming is also a good exercise after knee surgery, after your stitches or staples are removed and you are able to go in the water.

Living with a knee replacement

Your doctor may want to see you from time to time for several months or more to monitor your knee replacement. Over time, you will return to most of your presurgery activities.

Controlling your weight will help your new knee joint last longer.

Stay active to help keep your strength, flexibility, and endurance. Your activities might include walking, swimming (after your wound is completely healed), dancing, golf (don't wear shoes with spikes, and use a golf cart), and bicycling on a stationary bike or on level surfaces.

For at least 2 years after your surgery, your doctor may want you to take antibiotics before dental work or any invasive medical procedure. This is to help prevent infection around your knee replacement. After 2 years, your doctor and dentist will decide whether you still need to take antibiotics. Your general health and the state of your other health conditions will help them decide.

Source: Webmd.com