What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

When your doctor suggests knee replacement surgery to help you return to full motion, it can be exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. How long does it take to recover? And, what can you expect after a knee replacement surgery?

Who Needs Knee Replacement Surgery?

When it comes to making the decision to get knee replacement surgery, your doctor is the best source for determining if it’s the right choice. In most cases, they’ll suggest other alternatives first — including interventional pain management, physical therapy, or medications to alleviate pain and swelling. While there are many factors that contribute to the case for why you should, the most common include:

  • You experience severe pain and stiffness that makes it hard to walk, climb stairs, or move
  • You have nagging knee pain that bothers you when resting or sleeping
  • Your knee swells often
  • Your knee bows or has other defects
  • Other alternatives — including medications — haven’t helped

What to Expect Before Knee Replacement Surgery

Before surgery, your doctor reviews your medical history and conducts physical exams — including x-rays and other tests — to see how extensive the damage to your knee is. They’ll review your history and make a list of medications you’re currently taking to weigh your risks. And, you’ll have to refrain from eating eight hours before your surgery.

If your doctor sees fit, you may be able to have outpatient knee replacement surgery — meaning you can go home directly after the procedure. Another option is a minimally-invasive procedure — which provides the fastest recovery possible. By talking to your doctor, you can find out the best option for your knee replacement surgery.

What to Expect 24 Hours After Knee Replacement Surgery

At first, you may need some assistance walking — such as with a cane, crutches, or a walker. But, by the end of the day, you should be able to walk on your own. During the first 24 hours, you’ll need to use your new knee as much as possible.

You’ll receive a list of exercises to help strengthen your knee and make moving easier. You’ll be shown how to get in and out of bed, change your bandage, dress, use the bathroom, and bathe. With physical therapy and time, you’ll casually gain more strength and begin feeling fully recovered a month after surgery.

Living with a Knee Replacement

After your doctor gives the approval, you can start getting back into the things you love. You’ll begin improving your flexibility and experience less swelling and pain. From the basics of walking, working, and climbing stairs to more intricate movements like playing sports or biking, full recovery can take anywhere between one to two months. So, it’s important that you take things slow and build up strength before pushing your knee too hard to prevent injuries.

How Long Does a Knee Replacement Last?

If you follow your doctor’s recovery plan closely and take care of your knee, the artificial replacement can last as long as 15 – 20 years, or more. Wear and tear of the artificial joint depend on your performance and lifespan. Younger recipients of knee replacement surgery may require a revision during their lifetime, but most patients will never need to replace their new knee.

Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today

At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you suffer from knee pain and it’s making your life uncomfortable, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love. With six convenient locations, we provide quality orthopedic care and interventional pain management services to patients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Palm Coast, and New Smyrna Beach.

Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.