What to Expect Before Knee Replacement Surgery
Joint replacement can help relieve pain and enable you to live a fuller, more active life. If you are deemed a good candidate for joint replacement and decide to have surgery, it is good to be prepared, both mentally and physically before surgery. Planning ahead for the challenges of surgery and recovery will help ensure a more successful outcome. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions before surgery:
- What tests are needed before surgery? Prior to knee replacement, you will complete a variety of tests such as x-rays, and ECG, and blood tests. These medical studies ensure that you are healthy enough for surgery and enable your providers to ensure the best care after surgery.
- What type of anesthesia will I receive? Most of our patients receive a spinal block, intravenous sedation, and long-acting local analgesic for knee replacement surgery. This combination ensures a safe and rapid recovery with a lower likelihood of nausea and vomiting, respiratory complications, prolonged sedation, and other issues often seen with general anesthesia.
- What type of implant or prosthesis will be used? We use implants with a design that has been shown to have good long-term survival. We do not use any implants that have been recalled. If you want specific brand names please discuss this with your surgeon before surgery.
- How long will I stay in the hospital? Most patient stay in the hospital 2-3 days following knee replacement. The vast majority of patient will go home with home health that will perform any necessary blood work and physical therapy.
- How long will my recovery take? Most patients will obtain almost full recovery by 3 months after surgery. By 3 months, you can except to return to low-impact activities such as hiking, biking, golfing. We advise you avoid high-impact activities such as running after a knee replacement. If you have a sedentary job, you should be able to return to work within 3-6 weeks. More physical jobs often require more time off for recovery.
- How will my pain be managed after surgery? We use “multimodal” pain management, meaning that we use a combination of medications such as Tylenol, narcotics, and anti-inflammatories as well as ice to control your pain.
- Do I need physical therapy before surgery? Formal physical therapy is not required before surgery, but it is advised to get in the best physical shape possible before surgery to lessen the change for complication and shorten your recovery time.
- What medications should I stop taking before surgery? You will stop all medications that thin your blood 7 days before surgery such as aspirin and ibuprofen. If you take chronic anti-coagulation such as Coumadin we will work with your other doctors to establish a plan for your medication before surgery.
- What if I smoke or drink alcohol? If you smoke, cut down or quit. Smoking affects blood circulation, delays healing and slows recovery. Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. If you drink, do not consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before surgery. If you use any other types of controlled substances, tell your doctor. Narcotics and other drugs can cause complications and impact your surgery.
Patient Forms – Pre Surgery:
To help expedite the check in process for your appointment, we would ask that you please print and complete the following forms (where applicable – fill out only for the surgical procedures that you are scheduling) and bring them with you to your appointment. Please call our office at (801) 355-6468 if you have any questions or concerns, we’re happy to help. Thank you!
What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery
The day after surgery, you will begin working with physical therapy to become comfortable using your new knee. They will begin basic movements and walking with either a walker or crutches. You will also be started on a “motion machine” called a CPM that helps to decrease swelling and maintain motion in your knee. Physical therapy is a critical component of your recovery, helping to restore joint strength and mobility.
Joint replacement is major surgery and your recovery will take several weeks, but there are steps you can take now to make your time at home safer and more comfortable:
- If you live alone or have special needs, consider going to a specialized rehabilitation facility after discharge from the hospital. Your doctor can suggest appropriate places to consider.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital and stay with you for several days after your surgery. Do not drive until cleared by your surgeon.
- Place items that you use frequently within easy reach.
- Use a walker or pair of crutches to see how well you can maneuver through your home. You may need to rearrange furniture or temporarily change rooms (make the living room your bedroom, for example).
- Remove any throw or area rugs that could cause you to slip. Securely fasten electrical cords around the perimeter of the room.
- Consider modifying your bathroom to include a shower chair, gripping bar, or raised toilet seat. Place items that you use frequently within easy reach so that you do not have to reach up or bend down.
If you do not already have a disabled parking permit, apply for a temporary permit several weeks before your surgery. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles, or your doctor’s office may have an application form.
Post-Surgery Patient Instructions
Following your surgical procedure with Hofmann Arthritis Institute, our physician and staff will work closely with you on education and instructions pertaining to your new joint replacement. Here are some of the forms you will receive under our care and treatment.