Knee Replacement: What to Expect
Knee pain makes it hard to live a full and enjoyable life, and it can keep you from doing the things you love most. If you are suffering as you try to do your favorite activities, talk to your doctor about getting a knee replacement. While it may take some time to recover, you can quickly get back into your routine without the extra pain.
As you prepare for your knee surgery, the doctor may ask you to stop taking certain medications. These may interfere with the medicine you will need after your surgery, or they may cause problems during the surgery. Be sure that you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations about medication.
The night before you are scheduled to have your surgery, limit your food and drinks. Your doctor will give you a time period after which you are not allowed to eat or drink anything. If your surgery is scheduled for very early in the morning, you may need to eat an early supper the night before. If your surgery is later in the day, you may be able to eat up until midnight the night before.
During the Surgery
You and your doctor will decide which type of anesthesia will work best for you. You may be asleep during the procedure, or they may give you an epidural to numb you from the waist down. As the surgeon works on your knee, he will bend it so that the joint is fully exposed. The incision will be anywhere from 6 to 10 inches long, and it will allow the doctor to remove the kneecap and damaged areas. The artificial joint is put into place after the surfaces are prepared, and then the doctor will test the joint to make sure it works properly. He will then sew up the incision, and you will be taken to a recovery room. You will stay in the hospital for several days to be monitored.
After the Surgery
Once you are released from the hospital, it is very important that you have someone to help you at home. You will need to use mobility devices to help you move around. A walker or crutches are helpful because they will force you to use your knee so that it doesn’t become too stiff. If you rely on a wheelchair or mobility scooter, take some time to exercise your knee properly so that the scar tissue does not prevent your joint from working properly. Take your medicine as directed to minimize pain and prevent infections. If your knee heals properly, you will be able to resume activities in four to six weeks.
A knee replacement can be a wonderful way to improve your life if you are currently suffering from severe knee pain. Once the surgery is over, you will have the freedom to move without soreness or acute pain, which means that you can do more of your favorite activities.