What to Expect When You're Expecting Knee Surgery

Knee surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed around the world, and also one that brings patients the most relief from pain. If you have bad knees, it makes it very difficult to perform the necessary tasks from day to day and can leave you hurting more than you should be. When you schedule your knee replacement surgery, there are a few things you can expect before, during, and after your procedure.

Before the Procedure

Once your doctor has scheduled you for knee replacement surgery, you will be advised by the doctor to not eat at least 8 hours before your procedure. If you are taking any blood-thinning medications, you need to make sure your doctor is aware so they can have you temporarily stop taking them if necessary. Make sure you have someone drive you to and from your appointment because you cannot drive after being under anesthesia and will need a ride home. Many people find it helpful to prepare meals for themselves and their families prior to the surgery to help reduce stress during your recovery. 

During the Procedure

During your knee replacement surgery, the doctor will give you IV medications as well as shave the area where he or she will be operating. Some doctors choose to only numb patients from the waist down, while others prefer to do general anesthesia where you are not awake at all. Depending on the damaged area, your doctor will make a cut where he will go in and remove the old knee and place an artificial one in its place. You will be left with stitches and staples to help the cut to heal properly.

After the Procedure

Most doctors want you to walk as soon as the day following your procedure. This will not be an easy task as you have to adjust to your new knee, but with the assistance of a nurse, walker, or parallel bars, you will be able to complete the task. Walking helps get the blood flowing in your body, and you will be sent home with exercises to work on to strengthen your new knee. Physical therapy is often part of knee surgery recovery to help regain strength and flexibility that you might have lost during the procedure. The amount of therapy needed is directly dependent on how well you respond to the surgery and how quickly you are able to regain motion.