Recovery from a knee replacement can be a long process, and the time required can vary from person-to-person and operation-to-operation. It’s always essential that you follow the advice your surgeon gives you on properknee care and rehabilitation.
After your operation, you will remain in the surgical ward for a short time. The bandages and dressings that protect your knee will be changed periodically, and you may be administered oxygen or painkillers as needed.
Following the operation, your rehabilitation will begin as soon as you are able. While most total knee replacement patients are unable to walk on the same day as the operation, you will begin a walking program within the first days after your surgery. In the early stages of this program, walking with a frame or crutches is usually necessary. Many patients are able to walk without assistance within one week, with the help of a cane or walking stick. This varies depending on the individual.
During your stay at the hospital, you will be under the care of a physical therapist who will instruct you in various knee-strengthening exercises, which usually begin the day after your surgery. These early stages hold a slight risk of complication or dislocation of the joint, so it is important that you follow your physical therapist’s instructions.
Most patients will be able to leave the hospital after knee replacement surgery within a 7 to 10 days, depending on your rehabilitation progress.Partial knee replacement patients are usually able to return home sooner. In some cases, if you are physically fit, doctors may recommend an enhanced recovery program that will allow you to return home earlier.
After returning home, you will experience weakness and exhaustion. This is normal; you’ve just undergone major surgery! Your new knee will take some time to heal, and your muscles and tissues need the chance to recover. Some discomfort is normal, but if you have any worries or concerns you should contact your doctor. It may be wise to make some preparations to your home: toilet seat risers, handlebars, benches, and other devices may make your home life easier during your recovery.
Perhaps the most important thing following knee replacement surgery is to follow the rehabilitation plan laid out by your doctor. You will likely need several weeks of phyiscal therapy to regain full mobility in your knee, and you should follow this regimen very closely. Keeping a positive attitude and faithfully following directions are essential here; without dutiful attention to your recovery plan, you may take much longer to regain full mobility.
In the years following knee replacement surgery, you may find that you have more mobility and less pain than you have felt in years. Still, you need to maintain and monitor your knee replacement. If you feel anything abnormal, contact your doctor. Knee replacement devices may need to be replaced after 10 or 15 years, depending on your individual condition.