Knee Replacement Surgery FAQs
Am I a Good Candidate for Knee Replacement Surgery?
The need for knee replacement usually arises from the wear and tear of daily life. Your knees endure a remarkable amount of stress during your daily life and it takes its toll over time. This is known as osteoarthritis, colloquially called “wear and tear arthritis.” Or you could have damaged your knee in a high school football game or from modern dance classes, and the pain has gradually increased over the years.
Regardless of the causes, your knee now is a painful part of your daily life. Even the simplest activities, such as walking around the block or climbing a flight of stairs, are exercises in pain. If the damage is great enough, your pain may be relatively constant. Your knee is now starting to impact your quality of life.
If you’ve tried more conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, lifestyle changes, neoprene sleeves, maybe even cortisone shots, and you still have serious pain, it may be time to consider knee replacement with the experienced team at Hartzband Center for Hip & Knee Replacement.
What are the Risks Associated with Knee Replacement Surgery?
A couple of the risks involved in your knee replacement are the same as with any surgery — the formation of blood clots and infection. You will likely be on blood thinning medication after you return home. Warning signs of possible clots will be increasing pain in your calf; swelling in the calf, ankle, and foot; and tenderness or redness above or below the knee.
Infections can come from bacteria that enter the bloodstream from other infections, sometimes something as innocuous as an infected tooth. These bacteria can lodge around your knee replacement and cause an infection. In addition to persistent fever, an infection will show with increasing redness, tenderness, or swelling of the knee wound; drainage from the wound; and increasing knee pain with both activity and rest.
Falls during the first few weeks after your knee replacement can damage your new knee and lead to the need for another surgery. Obviously, stairs are a particular hazard. Throw rugs need to be put away. We’ll walk you through the other hazards that you’ll need to address to make your house as safe for your new knee as possible.
How Long Does Knee Replacement Surgery Take?
Knee replacement surgery usually lasts around one hour
What is the Recovery from Knee Replacement Surgery Like?
After your surgery, the average hospital stay is usually one to three days. While in the hospital you’ll be encouraged to move your foot and ankle to increase blood flow to your leg muscles and prevent swelling and clots. Just one day after your surgery, you’ll meet with a physical therapist who will show you how to exercise your new knee. The quality of your recovery is directly related to how closely you follow our instructions for wound care, diet, and exercise. You’ll be amazed at how quickly we’ll want you to walk on your new knee!
This is your initial physical activity:
- A graduated walking program to increase your mobility.
- Slowly resuming other household activities, including using the stairs.
- Knee-strengthening exercises will be performed several times daily.
You’ll need help with household chores and other routine tasks.
Physical therapy is a crucial part of your recovery. When you return home after your hospital stay, we will have a physical therapist come to your home to start your regimen. From there, you’ll use outpatient therapy for up to two to three months.
During your recovery, it’s important not to pivot or twist your new knee for at least six weeks. Kneeling and squatting need to be avoided. Also, when lying in bed, you need to keep your knee as straight as possible.
Our team at Hartzband will give you the green light to return to certain activities such as driving and certain forms of exercise. Most patients resume normal light activities within three weeks after their knee replacement surgery.
How Long Before I Can Return to Work, Drive, and Exercise after Knee Replacement Surgery?
One of the keys to the best outcomes with a new knee is to stay active, but not to overdo it. You’ll have some good days and some bad days but think long-term.
We’ll tell you when you’re ready to get behind the wheel again. Obviously, you’ll have to be finished with any prescription pain medication and feel that your reflexes are back to normal.
This depends on your job. If your job involves standing and moving about, it may be several weeks before you can return. For desk jockeys, the timeframe will be faster, but every patient is unique.
Exercise and Sports
In anywhere from 6-12 weeks, you’ll be able to return to many of your low-impact activities/sports, such as hiking, swimming, golfing, or biking. High impact activities such as jogging, tennis, volleyball, basketball, and the like may not be a great idea, but we’ll discuss any limitations you should or shouldn’t consider during your recovery. For instance, maybe you should stop playing singles tennis, but switch to doubles or pickleball. You’ll be amazed at how you can return to most activities without any pain, but you may want to limit some things.
Will I Need Physical Therapy after Knee Replacement Surgery?
Physical therapy is an intricate part of recovery after knee replacement. This begins the day after your surgery, believe it or not. That day your physical therapist will have you up on your feet, with the aid of a cane, crutches, or walker. He or she will give you a series of exercises to do in the hospital to improve movement and increase blood flow to your legs and feet to help prevent clotting.
After you leave the hospital your therapy will initially start at home and will then move to outpatient rehab. The goal will be to keep increasing the range of motion in your new knee and to rebuild strength. In general, you’ll work with a physical therapist for at least a few weeks after your surgery.
What Results Can I Expect after Knee Replacement Surgery?
For the majority of our Hartzband patients, their knee replacement allows them to get back on their feet without the chronic pain. Walking, biking, golf, most of the activities they like to do are a joy again because they are pain-free. For most patients, you can generally get back to things such as going to the grocery and driving a car in about three weeks. From there it will be a progression of adding more activities.
The key is your dedication to rehab and physical therapy. The more you can increase your range of motion in your new knee, the better your results will be. The average lifespan for today’s artificial knees is about 20 years.
We’re excited at the chance to help you regain your quality of life through a knee replacement.
The Hartzband Center for Hip & Knee Replacement proudly provides patients from Paramus, Hackensack, Paterson, Clifton, and Passaic, NJ with hip replacement surgery. Contact us at (201) 291-4040 or fill out a Contact Form here.
To learn more about Our Services, please contact us at (201) 291-4040 today to schedule an appointment.