Knee replacement surgery might be a routine surgery for orthopedic doctors, but can be pretty intimidating for a patient undergoing the procedure for the first time. Here is what you can expect in the days and weeks following your procedure:
In the hours and first few days after the surgery, you will feel some pain and discomfort and there will be some swelling around the replacement site, but you can expect to be able to start using your artificial knee as soon as possible. Within the first few hours of waking, the doctor and a therapist will likely try to get you up and walking a few steps just to verify that everything went well and you are back to functioning. Within the day or two following surgery, your therapist will continue to have you walk and bear weight on the knee as well as start you on some simple exercises to start to regain the strength and mobility of the joint.
Once you have been monitored for a few days post-surgery and everything appears to be healing as normal, you will be able to go home and continue your healing process at home. This process will take several weeks so it is important to be patient and not rush it for risk of doing more harm and hindering your healing.
When you are at home, you can expect to continue to have some pain and discomfort, but this should be relatively less than when you started and your doctor will likely reduce the strength of your pain medication. When you are released to go home, you should be able to do most essential daily tasks on your own, with some assistance and be able to be mobile and walk some. While this rate of improvement is different for everyone, you should not expect to be bedridden when you leave the hospital and needing permanent assistance still, but having someone at home to offer you aid when you need it is advisable.
In the weeks following your procedure, you will have regular check ups with your orthopedic specialist to make sure the healing is proceeding properly, and you will be given exercises by a physical therapist to practice at home to improve the mobility of your knee. In addition, you will need to have regular therapy appointments to help maximize knee function and ensure you are not presenting with any unusual symptoms of healing. Maintaining a sound exercise practice, following your therapist’s directions is critical to your return to health, and even if the exercises seem simple, they should not be neglected.
While the total recovery process may take up to twelve weeks, with patience and diligence you will be back to health in no time and have an even better knee than before.
Ready to Begin Your Knee Replacement Journey?
Get started by requesting a consultation with one of the knee replacement specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute (OSI). Please call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online. OSI is Northeast Wisconsin’s exclusive provider of Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery for Hips & Knees. Find out if robotic surgery is right for you.
OSI has convenient locations to serve you. The campus in Appleton includes clinics, a surgery center, MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility, as well as a walk-in clinic that provides care for new orthopedic injuries.
OSI has outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.
OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.