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How Do I Treat My Incision After Knee Replacement

Knee Manipulation Procedure What To Expect

Incisions and Wound Care After A Total Knee Replacement

If you have recently undergone a knee replacement surgery and your regular postoperative physical therapy exercises do not seem to increase your range of motion, your doctor might recommend you knee manipulation surgery.

Knee manipulation is performed under general or epidural anesthesia. Prior to joint manipulation and ice pack is applied to the affected knee to prepare the tissues for the procedure for approximately 5 minutes. After that your doctor will perform the actual knee manipulation by forcing your knee to bend or flex and break up the scar tissue around the joint preventing the proper movement.

The actual knee manipulation takes very little time, but the recovery, on the other hand, includes grueling aggressive and rather painful physical therapy to increase flexibility and range of motion in your knee. Its absolutely crucial for you to stick to the knee exercise regimen to gain at least 110 degree knee bend to perform your daily activities like walking, doing steps and getting up from a sitting position.

Knee manipulation might help restore the flexibility of your knee joints if you commit to stringent physical therapy exercise program and follow all your doctors orders.

You may also consider additionally to try alternative treatment such as visceral manipulation procedure.

Getting Rid Of Scar Tissue In Knee Knee Scar Tissue

If you have a scar tissue that has been on your knee for as long as you care to remember, then you may be left wondering what options are available to get rid of scar tissue in knee.

Well, according to the WebMD website, you should wait at least 1 year after surgery before seeking for scar treatments since most scars will naturally fade away after some time. With that in mind, here are some of the treatment options for knee scar tissue that you may want to consider:

Creams: Creams are commonly used to get rid of scars. The surgeon may prescribe a stronger prescription cream if over-the-counter options are not suitable for your particular case. Talk to your surgeon for advice on the most suitable option for your scar tissue.

Surgical revision: Surgical revision can as well be used to reduce scar tissues. Surgical and non-surgical interventions are often combined to alter the shape of the scar tissue and make it less prominent.

Dermabrasion: Dermabrasion holds a special place among the ways to get rid of scar tissue in knee. This involves the use of an ablative tool to remove the upper surface of the scars to stimulate a regrowth of new, healthy skin cells. Although often very effective for raised scars, dermabrasion has been found to be of less benefit to sunken scars.

Microdermabrasion is a less invasive variation of dermabrasion but it is not usually very effective in treatment of deep scars.

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Reasons Some Incisions Don’t Heal

Many medical conditions can significantly impact the stages of healing and the strength of the final scar. Some of these conditions can be prevented or at least minimized, while others may not be as easy to modify. A few of the common conditions that impact wound healing and strength include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

For these reasons, most joint replacement programs will advise people having any type of joint replacement surgery to optimize these conditions prior to surgery.

For example, ensuring proper nutrition, controlling blood sugar , managing rheumatoid drugs, weight loss, and tobacco cessation are all steps that people can take to lower their risk of wound healing complications after knee replacement surgery.

In addition, some surgeons may advise against performing knee replacement surgery in particularly high-risk individuals. While everyone wants to believe their surgery will go well and without complication, there are individuals who may be better and more safely managed with nonsurgical treatments, particularly if they are at high risk for healing complications after knee replacement surgery.

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Reasons Why Scar Tissue Management Is Important

Once scar tissue develops, its essential to work on promoting healthy tissue as soon as possible before possible problems arise. Remodeling the scar makes it so the injured tissue can tolerate the stress and forces the body encounters every day from regular activity. Tissue remodeling can help in three ways:

  • Improve range of motion in surrounding joints and muscles
  • Restore normal mobility and function

How To Take Care Of Your Incision After Surgery

The Wound: Important considerations to understand

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Proper care for your surgical incisions after surgery is a critical part of your postsurgical care and will certainly go a long way in ensuring a positive surgical outcome. It helps prevent infection or other complications and speeds up your recovery. Heres how to take care of your incision after the surgery.

After a joint replacement surgery, you will have an incision that is 4-6 inches long where your joint was replaced. Immediately following the surgery, your incision will be covered with a postoperative dressing. The surgical team will remove the dressing and replace it as needed if there is any drainage from the incision. Your surgical incision will stay covered and clean for the duration of your hospital stay.

You will be ready for discharge when you can walk independently with an assistive device, are able to go up and down stairs, exhibit control over your pain, your vital signs and labs are stable, and physical therapy services if required have been set up for you. Upon discharge you will be given prescriptions for all your new medications as well as detailed discharge instructions.

The postoperative dressing must be maintained in place for 7 days from the date of surgery. if there is no drainage from the incision site, the dressing will be removed after 7 days. Once the dressing is no longer needed, you should keep your incision clean at home.

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How Do I Manage Pain And Discomfort After Joint Replacement Surgery

Try to take your pain medication as soon as you begin to feel pain. Don’t wait until the pain becomes severe. Follow the instructions on the prescription label. Remember to take your pain medication before activity and bedtime.

If you need to have stitches or staples removed and you’re still taking pain medications, be sure to have a friend or family member drive you to your appointment.

Pain medication may cause nausea. If this happens, decrease the amount you are taking or stop and contact your surgeons office.

If you need additional pain medication, please contact your surgeons office. Give at least a few days advance notice before you run out of the medication. Please plan ahead, especially for holiday weekends.

Also remember:

  • You aren’t permitted to drive a car while taking narcotic pain medication.
  • It may take several days to have a bowel movement. Anesthesia and pain medication often cause constipation. Drink plenty of fluids and eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. A stool softener or laxative can help bowel function return to normal.
  • Don’t hesitate to call your surgeons office with any questions or concerns.

Incision care

Walker, crutches, cane

Use your assistive devices for balance as instructed by your surgeon or therapist. By your first post-op visit with your surgeon, you may have already improved and changed from using a walker or crutches to a cane .

What Does The Doctor Do Prior To Revision Surgery

When the decision for revision knee replacement is made, the surgeon will do a thorough clinical exam and order and laboratory tests. If infection is suspected, aspiration of the knee may be required. The aspirated fluid will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis to identify the specific type of infection.

In addition to X-rays, other imaging modalities may be helpful, such as bone scans, or . These advanced imaging technologies can demonstrate changes in the position or condition of the prosthetic components as well help to pinpoint the cause, location and the amount of bone loss to help plan for the surgery.

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Caring For A Knee Replacement Surgery Incision

Traditional total knee replacement surgery often entails an 8 to 10 incision. It is typically recommended that the incision remain covered by a bandage from several days up to 2 to 3 weeks.

A surgeons office will provide detailed instructions about how often to change the bandages and how to do so. In general:

  • The wound should be cleaned and bandages changed daily.
  • Immersing the leg in a bath tub, hot tub, or pool must be avoided until the wound is adequately healedtypically for a minimum of 4 weeks. These activities can increase the risk of infection.
  • Showers are usually OK beginning 2 to 3 days after the surgery. The incision should not be scrubbed or sprayed with water. Instead, people are advised to let soapy water run over the incision, rinse it with clean water, and gently pat it dry.

A hospital may use a specially designed bandage that can stay in place for a week or longer. These bandages are able to absorb blood and moisture to keep the skin clean and dry the bandages are also antimicrobial and waterproof. They can be worn in the shower.

Technical Details Of Total Knee Replacement

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Total knee replacement surgery begins by performing a sterile preparation of the skin over the knee to prevent infection. This is followed by inflation of a tourniquet to prevent blood loss during the operation.

Next, a well-positioned skin incision–typically 6-7 in length though this varies with the patients size and the complexity of the knee problem–is made down the front of the knee and the knee joint is inspected.

Next, specialized alignment rods and cutting jigs are used to remove enough bone from the end of the femur , the top of the tibia , and the underside of the patella to allow placement of the joint replacement implants. Proper sizing and alignment of the implants, as well as balancing of the knee ligaments, all are critical for normal post-operative function and good pain relief. Again, these steps are complex and considerable experience in total knee replacement is required in order to make sure they are done reliably, case after case. Provisional implant components are placed without bone cement to make sure they fit well against the bones and are well aligned. At this time, good function–including full flexion , extension , and ligament balance–is verified.

Finally, the bone is cleaned using saline solution and the joint replacement components are cemented into place using polymethylmethacrylate bone cement. The surgical incision is closed using stitches and staples.

Anesthetic

Length of total knee replacement surgery

Pain and pain management

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Advanced Exercises And Activities

Once you have regained independence for short distances and a few steps, you may increase your activity. The pain of your knee problems before surgery and the pain and swelling after surgery have weakened your knee. A full recovery will take many months. The following exercises and activities will help you recover fully.

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Work On Your Walking Form

Pre-surgery my leg was bowed and walked with a noticeable limp. Once you start walking after TKR you may have to relearn to walk correctly.

My in-home therapist made it a point to walk behind me reminding me to walk with proper form. On your other walks, have your caregiver or walking partner critique your walking form.

Discard those old shoes that show wear from walking incorrectly.

If you can, video record you walking form before surgery and then have your walking partner video your new form occasionally.

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How Long Does It Take For An Incision To Heal

Good incision care can help ensure that it heals well and infection doesnt develop. In most cases, a surgical incision heals in about two weeks. More complex surgical incisions will take longer to heal. If you have other medical conditions or are taking certain medications, your healing time may differ.

Thigh Shaking/picking For Scar Tissue Management

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Although it sounds almost overly-simple, knee or thigh shaking, which is also called soft tissue mobilization, allows the body to break up the unnecessary scar tissue. This will help to loosen things up at a microlevel preparing your knee for the next strategy for encouraging healthy tissue formation.

The key here is vigor. Prop your leg up either on your bed or on another chair, keeping your spine neutral. Take either one or two hands to vigorously shake/pick up your thigh to create results at the microlevel.

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Where Will I Feel Knee Replacement Pain

As mentioned above, knee replacement pain can come in many different forms depending on the cause. Knee pain is to be expected due to the surgical procedure itself, with swelling, bruising, and the introduction of prosthetic parts.

Beyond that, it is possible to feel pain in parts of the body other than your knee. This is known as referred pain.

Your hips, lower back, groin area, and calves may initially hurt due to the change in your stance and the way you walk. Of course, it is also typical to feel sore due to extended amounts of time in bed during your recovery.

How Do I Keep My Wound Clean

You can clean the skin around the cut with a soft cloth or gauze pad.

First, soak the cloth or gauze in soapy water or in a mixture of sterile water and salt. Then, gently wipe or dab the skin around the wound.

Don’t use skin cleansers, antibacterial soaps, alcohol, iodine, or peroxide. They can damage the skin in the wound and delay healing. Also, don’t put on any lotion, cream, or herbal product unless you’ve checked with your doctor first.

Your doctor will tell you how to wash out your wound. They may say to fill a syringe with salt water or mild soapy water. This will help rinse away any pus that’s draining out. Last, pat it dry with clean gauze or a clean cloth.

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Knee Replacement Recovery: Tips To Speed Up The Healing Process

May 11, 2020

So you just got yourself a brand-new knee. Congrats, you’re on your way to a relatively pain-free life!But before you bust your moves on Salsa Night or go up a flight of stairs , you should first ensure a full recovery.Getting a new metal knee isn’t a walk in the park, and your knee replacement recovery journey may be full of challenges, so here are some tips to help speed up the healing process:

Flexion And Extension Contracture

Top Five Mistakes People Make After Total Knee Replacement

Contracture is a shortening of the muscle itself. So, fibrosis is something that sets up, like we talked about, as a spiderweb, and it connects bone to bone. Contracture is an actual shortening of the muscle, the tendon, because its been in a short position for so long. You know that whole use it or lose it? Thats real. That really happens. And so if you dont move that muscle, its going to contract, its going to stay short, because thats all it ever had to do. And thats why sometimes strengthening after a knee replacement takes longer, because you most likely didnt have that range of motion before surgery.

If you had a knee, and that knee was only bending to 70 degrees, then the quadriceps knew that it had to work from 70 to zero, and thats all the quadriceps had to do. And the hamstrings only pulled the knee back to 70 degrees. They didnt pull it back any further, right? So, those muscle fibers that exist after 70 degrees on either side of the joint, theyre on vacation, and they like being on vacation.

And when you ask them to start working again it takes a little bit of time for them to remember what their goal was, what their target was, what their job is.

Scar tissue and swelling after knee replacement are the biggest challenges for most patients. Do your homework and make a plan for your recovery. With a good physical therapist and the right approach to recovery you will get back to your life in no time.

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Common Symptoms After Surgery

Your incision will be swollen, bruised and may be red after surgery. These symptoms are common and part of the healing process. The following symptoms are also common after surgery:

  • temperature below 101.6 F
  • warmth or numbness around your incision
  • spotty drainage, red or clear in color, lasting for one to five days

It is important to monitor your symptoms every day to make sure your incision is healing properly.

Getting Sleep After Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee pain and stiffness can make getting sleep challenging. Higher doses of pain medication, or stronger pain medications, may be needed at night in order to sleep.

It can be dangerous, even life-threatening, to take sleep medications and pain medications together. Only take sleep medications if approved by the overseeing surgeon.

Initially, getting in and out of bed can be awkward and painful. Over the first two weeks, it will get easier and less painful.

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Wear Loose Comfortable Clothes

As I mentioned above, you will have staples in your knee for about 12 days. Short pants or athletic shorts make it easy to dress and also keeps the fabric from long pants off the wound.

Even after the staples have been removed long pants especially denim can cause discomfort. If you have to wear long pants, I recommend thin fabric or zippered pants that are specially made for post-surgery . Check out my article on what to wear after TKR.

This is another good reason to plan your surgery and recovery during warmer weather when less clothing is necessary.

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