What to Expect from Knee Replacement Surgery

If you’re planning on knee replacement surgery, it’s important to understand what’s ahead. Following are some helpful tips for before and after surgery.  

Before surgery

Before knee replacement surgery, there are proactive steps that can aid your recovery.

Knee and leg exercises

You may have stopped exercising for some time before the surgery because your knee hurt, and your muscles may have atrophied. However, your knee needs to be strong enough to support your new joint. Maryland Orthopedic Specialists physicians give you exercises to do before surgery to help you strengthen your knee and leg.

Dental work

If you’ve been putting off needed dental work, plan on getting it done before your knee replacement surgery; this includes dental cleaning as well as more complex procedures such as crowns, bridges, root canals, extractions, and implants. Dental work may cause bacteria in your mouth to travel through your bloodstream, causing a serious infection at the surgical site.

Cleansing your body

Maryland Orthopedic Specialists gives you instructions for a specific body-washing protocol prior to surgery. You receive instructions about using a special cleanser as well as directions for bedding and clothing before the operation.

After surgery

After any surgery requiring anesthesia, it takes a while to feel like yourself again. Knee replacement surgery is no exception. Besides the short-term effects of the anesthesia, you’re on strong pain relief medication, which can have side effects. In addition, your body has experienced trauma from the operation, and it takes time to recover.

Recovery varies with the individual. Following are some common after-effects of knee replacement surgery and ways to minimize stress and promote a return to health.

Pain or discomfort

You’re likely to have pain or significant discomfort for at least two weeks after knee replacement surgery. Discomfort can last much longer, even for months. To help manage discomfort or pain after your surgery, do the following for as long as directed:

Sleep disruption

Your sleep patterns are interrupted by surgery, because you’re sleeping during the operation. Then you go home, take pain medication, and fall asleep again. Follow these tips for better sleep:

Eating and elimination

Home exercise program

Starting gentle exercises right away is vitally important to your complete recovery. If you don’t do the prescribed exercises, your knee can stiffen up, perhaps to immobility. These are some of the most common exercises that you may be instructed to do beginning right after surgery:

Physical therapy

When you’re able to leave your home, you can enter physical therapy to help you regain full range of motion. Your physical therapist conducts an initial evaluation to assess what’s needed and then formulates an exercise program individualized to your needs. You’ll be performing exercises to improve:

Dental work

Ask when you can continue with your regular dental cleanings or have other dental work done. You may need to be premedicated with antibiotics before dental appointments in the future, depending on the type of work to be done.

Call or book an appointment online with Maryland Orthopedic Specialists if you need a knee replacement.  

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