Recuperating After Total Knee Replacement Surgery: What to Expect

Author: Knee Replacement Surgery

A total knee replacement is one of the most common orthopedic surgical procedures performed today. However, just because the procedure is common does not mean that it does not require patient cooperation and knowledge during the recuperative period in order to prevent complications from occurring. Here are some important facts that you need to know when recovering after total knee replacement surgery.

The Recovery Room

Following your surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room, where you will be monitored carefully until most of the effects of the anesthetic given to keep you asleep during the procedure has worn off. A nurse will monitor your vital signs and observe for any abnormal bleeding. Once your vital signs are stable and you are awake and somewhat alert, you will be moved to a regular room to continue your convalescence.

Pain Control

You can expect to have some pain following a total knee replacement surgery. There are many ways in which pain can be controlled. Sometimes an epidural, a thin, flexible tube inserted into the spine during surgery, is used to deliver pain medication for the first couple of days after surgery. Pain medication may be given through your intravenous (a tube inserted into a vein to provide fluids and medication) or injected into a muscle. Narcotic medications may also be given by mouth. The type of delivery system for your pain medication depends on many factors, such as your age, your general condition and physician preference. It is important that you take pain medication when you are having pain, as it will enable you to participate in postoperative exercises and ambulation as directed.


Physiotherapy will be commenced almost immediately after surgery, certainly by the first day post-op. You will be instructed on how to perform range of motion exercises while in bed. You will assisted to stand and encouraged to bear as much weight as you can tolerate on your affected leg, and will begin walking using a walker or crutches soon after your total knee replacement surgery is done. In addition, your physiotherapist may use a CPM (continuous passive movement) machine, which passively exercises your knee. Physiotherapy is the most important aspect affecting recovery, and it is important that you follow all instructions given.

Dressings and Staples

Staples are often used to close the incision on the knee and may be removed before you go home. Your dressing will be changed daily while you are in the hospital. A simple dressing to keep your incision from becoming infected may be required when you go home. Your incision will be monitored for signs and symptoms of infection, such as redness, increased pain and increased swelling. Sometimes fever will accompany an infection. After discharge, you should report any concerns regarding infection to your doctor immediately.

Length of Stay in Hospital

How long you must stay in hospital following your total knee replacement surgery will be dependent on your age, your physical condition, the presence of any complications and your progress following surgery. Three to five days is the average length of stay for most patients. Once you are home, you will need to continue your exercises as prescribed and may be unable to drive for several weeks. It is important to make necessary arrangements for recovery at home before you have your total knee replacement surgery.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/womens-health-articles/

About the Author

Dr. David Heskiaoff & Dr. Jason Freedman are webmaster of kneesurgerydoctor.com provide complete range of treatment facilities for knee replacement surgery , Arthroscopic knee surgery problems and help you decide if the time is right, or not right, for knee replacement surgery.

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