We’ve had a lot of interested respondents about knee replacement surgery. We have received a lot of inquiries about the procedure, its usual cost, how it goes, and how long the recovery period lasts. All these questions will be better explained by an Orthopedic Surgeon, of course, so we do suggest that you see one for yourself. However, we can tell you more about the knee surgery recovery period here, starting from the time you wake up up to your discharge from the hospital.
The recovery and rehabilitation process plays a crucial role in helping you get back on your feet to resume your active lifestyle. It can help you heal from surgery faster and greatly improve your chances for long-term success. It is however, very important that you play a proactive role and commit yourself to a plan and push yourself to do as much as possible each day. Do take it easy though.
Post operatively, once you wake up, you may have a drainage tube for blood that collects around your knee. You’ll have an intravenous line, usually in your arm, to replace fluids and give you pain medications. In addition, you may have a catheter in your bladder which will eventually be removed. You’ll probably wear compression stockings to keep blood flowing smoothly too.
The staff will help you to get up and walk about as quickly as possible. If you have had minimally invasive surgery or are on an enhanced recovery program, you may be able to walk on the same day as your operation. Generally, you will be helped to stand within 12-24 hours after your operation. You will also be instructed to perform regular deep breathing exercises which will keep your lungs clear and prevent pneumonia.
A physical therapist or a physiotherapist will then teach you exercises to help strengthen your knee. This is usually started 24 hours after your operation. It is important to follow the physiotherapist’s advice to avoid complications or dislocation of your new joint. They will try to get you on your feet and teach you to pump your ankles to encourage blood flow too.
After removal of the catheter in your bladder, they may also request that you use a bedpan and then eventually a regular toilet so they can ask you to try to climb a few steps at a time. You will probably be switched to oral pain medications instead of those given through the intravenous line, as well as be switched to eat a regular diet too. As you recover from surgery your activity level should increase.
By the 72nd hour post operatively, your knee should be getting stronger and you should be able to increase your exercise and activity level. Your doctor will be shifting you from prescription-strength painkillers to lower dose pain medications. Your physical therapist may ask you to go on longer walks outside your hospital room, climb up and down a flight of stairs, move onto a chair or a toilet without assistance, and reduce the use of a walker, crutches, or a cane.
Eventually, you will be sent home and follow-up consults will be explained. Home medications such as antibiotics and pain killers will also be given. Stick around to find out about knee surgery recovery at home.