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How Long Does It Take For Knee Replacement Surgery

Will I Need Any Treatments After Knee Replacement

Why Does It Take so Long to Recover from a Knee Replacement?

Your healthcare team will prescribe medications to help you manage pain after surgery, such as:

  • Acetaminophen.

To prevent blood clots and control swelling, your healthcare team might also recommend:

  • Blood thinners, such as aspirin or injectable Enoxaparin based on individual risk of blood clot formation.
  • Compression devices, usually used while hospitalized. These are mechanical devises which provide intermittent compression.
  • Special support hose.

Your team will ask you to move your foot and ankle around frequently to maintain blood flow at home. Theyll also show you special exercises to help strengthen your knee and restore motion. Exercises are very important to the success of your knee replacement. Initially, physical therapy will be in the home. Arrangements for this in home PT are made at the time of discharge from the hospital.

Getting Back To Normal

Your body and your knee joint will continue to gain strength for several months after your surgery. There shouldnt be any pain after the first four months. If you continue to feel pain, be sure to talk to your surgeon.

If youve participated in activities that are hard on your knees in the past, talk to your doctor about how to return to jogging, skiing, and other activities while protecting your new knee implant. There may be some activities that arent advisable.

Most patients fully recover within six months to a year of total knee replacement surgery. While this may seem like a long time, the knee replacement itself can last as long as 15-20 years, giving you many years of comfort and mobility.

When Outpatient Knee Replacement Is Safe

Most knee replacement surgeries require a stay at the hospital, especially if youre undergoing total knee replacement. A stay in the hospital allows Dr. Karas to more closely monitor your recovery and initiate physical therapy when you have the full support of the experienced medical staff. Dr. Karas does his best to get you home as quickly as possible.

However, if youre undergoing a partial knee replacement, its possible that Dr. Karas may let you go home the same day. When determining if its safe for you to go home the same day of your knee replacement surgery, he takes into consideration your overall health, age, and support system. How well you bounce back while youre in the surgical suite recovery room is also a factor that determines whether you can go home right away.

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How Long Will My Knee Replacement Last

This varies depending on the patient, but knee replacement implants are very strong and durable. With todays advancements in technology, especially when it comes to polyethylene, knee implants are lasting more than 15-20 years for most patients.

If you and your orthopedic surgeon have decided that you are a good candidate for total knee replacement, start planning ahead so you can focus on your recovery for the best possible outcome. Remember that youre likely to come out of surgery as active as you go into surgery, so aim for regular low impact exercise and joint movement that you can complete without pain. Carefully following your surgeons instructions after a total knee replacement will ensure you protect your implant and prolong the success of your joint replacement.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Knee Replacement Surgery


Having a knee replacement is not easy on your body. It can take each person a different period of time to heal after such a surgery, so your doctor might not be able to tell you exactly how long it will take you to recover from knee replacement surgery.

However, the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons reports several important recovery milestones and the time it often takes to reach them. They reveal that many patients will be able to return to most normal activities within about three months. Yet, they also warn that it can take between six months to a year to fully recover your knee strength and endurance.

Physical therapists can help you address several important factors that can impact how long it takes you to recover from knee replacement surgery. They can do so by creating a pre- and post-surgical rehab plan thats unique to your needs.

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How Do Doctors Perform Knee Replacement

Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure performed under regional or general anesthesia.

The procedure is as follows:

  • An incision is made in the front of the knee
  • The lower part of the upper leg bone and the upper part of the lower leg bone are cut and removed
  • The ends of the bone are modified so the knee replacement prosthesis can be attached in the optimal position
  • The proper functioning of motion in the knee replacement is assessed and then the prosthesis is cemented into place
  • The incision is repaired and the knee is bandaged and braced
  • Total knee replacement surgery takes about two to three hours
  • The patient is usually in recovery with observation for 24 hours
  • Patients are given pain medications and cryotherapy to reduce postoperative swelling and pain
  • Patients are encouraged to walk on the second day following the surgery and are usually supervised by a physiotherapist until discharge

How Common Is Knee Replacement Surgery

The surgery is very common. Surgeons started doing it in the 1960s, with regular updates to techniques and implants along the way.

Almost 800,000 knee replacements currently get performed each year in the United States. The surgery is often done in older adults whose knees have worn down over time. But its also become popular in middle age, as people want to stay active.

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Knee Replacement

There are many factors that determine how long it takes to recover from a total knee replacement.

Patients are typically discharged from the hospital within five to 14 days after knee replacement surgery.

Short-term recovery, in which a patient can walk with minimal aid or no aid and only needs over-the-counter pain relief generally occurs within twelve weeks after surgery, and most patients can return to full normal activities within 3 to 6 months.

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Technical Details Of Total Knee Replacement

What is knee replacement surgery?

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.


Length of total knee replacement surgery

Pain and pain management

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How To Prevent Blood Clots After Hip And Knee Surgery

To prevent the occurrence of a blood clot, your doctor will likely prescribe a combination of treatment approaches for you, which may include: 1 Exercise/physical therapy beginning the first day after surgery and continuing for several months 2 Compression stockings 3 Anti-clotting medicine to reduce the bodys ability to form blood clots

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The Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery Timeline

Lajam tells her patients that for the first two weeks they wont like her very much, then they start getting motion back, getting around and seeing the pain dissipate. The first two weeks is the toughest part, then it starts getting better, she said. Severe pain after knee replacement surgery can be managed with medication.

Physical therapy can help you recover after knee replacement surgery. It improves your range of motion, reduces swelling and helps you learn to walk again.

Bending ones knee on ones own is difficult its helpful to have someone help you, Lajam said. She said her patients typically have in-home physical therapy a couple of times a week, with instructions on exercises after knee replacement surgery to do on their own. And after the first few weeks, most people switch to outpatient physical therapy.

Lajam says that your body tends to recover around the three-month mark. But your knee will continue to heal for more than a year after surgery.

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Different Types Of Surgery

There are 5 main types of knee replacement surgery:

  • Total knee replacement. This is the most common form. Your surgeon replaces the surfaces of the thigh bone and shin bone that connects to the knee.
  • Partial knee replacement. If arthritis affects only one side of your knee, this surgery may be a possibility. However, itâs only right for you if you have strong knee ligaments and the rest of the cartilage in the knee is normal. Partial knee replacement can be performed through a smaller cut than is needed for total knee replacement.
  • Patellofemoral replacement. This replaces only the under-surface of the kneecap and the groove the kneecap sits in. This can be very effective for people with chronic kneecap arthritis.
  • Complex knee replacement. This procedure may be needed if you have very severe arthritis or if youâve already had two or three knee replacement surgeries.
  • Cartilage restoration: Sometimes when the knee only has an isolated area of injury or wear this area can be replaced with a living cartilage graft or cells which grow into cartilage.

Ial Knee Replacement Overview

These Things You Must Know Before Going for Knee Replacement Surgery ...

A is also known as unicompartmental knee arthroplasty or unicondylar knee arthroplasty. In this surgery, damaged cartilage and bone are removed and replaced only in one diseased compartment of the knee. This differs from a total knee replacement, in which bone and cartilage from the entire joint are replaced.

Partial knee replacement is suitable for people who experience arthritis only in one compartment of the knee joint, rather than throughout the joint. It can also provide relief from pain and stiffness in some people who have medical conditions that make them poor candidates for total knee replacement surgery.

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Why Tissue Repairs Are Different Than Removal

As previously stated, sometimes knee scopes are exploratory to assess the extent of tissue damage because physical tests and MRI results have been inconsistent or inconclusive.

It is important to distinguish the difference between the less involved debridement or loose body removal surgery, where damaged tissues are removed and articulating surfaces are cleaned up versus a REPAIR.

Once the surgeon is inside the joint to see and probe the integrity of the tissue, they can decide if just a clean up will suffice or if tissues need to be reconstructed or repaired.

The patient will consult with their Orthopedic Surgeon to discuss the benefits and risks of each procedure. Sometimes an Orthopedic surgeon recommends Physical Therapy or injections prior to choosing to perform a repair procedure.

A torn ligament such as an ACL or PCL will likely need repaired if the patient is wishing to return to higher levels of activities requiring a stable knee. The same could be said for a patient with a meniscus tear that needs to be repaired .

Patients with only an ACL or PCL reconstruction are likely weightbearingas tolerated with crutches immediately following surgery, whereas a meniscus repair will be non-weightbearing for 1-2 months to protect the integrity of the repair.

The surgery recovery timeline for these repairs is much longer than just a scope or cleaning up debridement procedure and will likely last 4-8 months in Physical Therapy depending on progress and goals.

Start Using The Knee Early

Recovery and rehabilitation must start shortly after you awake from surgery. On the first day, you need to start standing up and walking with an assistive device, like a walker or crutches, with the aid of a physical therapist. Use your artificial knee as soon as you can. Your therapist will guide you through exercises that will increase the strength of your muscles, as well as help you get in and out of bed.

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How Long Does A Total Knee Replacement Surgery Take

When youre having surgery, its important to know how long the procedure is likely to take. This is because more time spent in surgery can increase the risk of surgical complications. For instance, longer surgeries mean more anesthetic must be used, and this can increase your risk of having a negative reaction to the anesthetic.

However, the risks of developing such complications is reduced by minimally invasive knee replacement procedures. This is because they tend to take less time to complete than traditional replacements. Most minimally invasive replacements take about 80 minutes according to an article published by the University of Washington.

How Long Will I Be On Pain Medications

How Long Does It Take To Get Over A Knee Replacement?

You will likely need some form of pain medication for two to three weeks. Again, there is a high degree of variability with some using narcotic medication for less than one week, and others for up to four weeks. Most people are able to wean off narcotic medication within one month and switch to an over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen.

If you do not have serious medical problems such as hypertension, heart disease, kidney or liver impairment, or a history of prior stomach/intestinal ulcers or reflux, it may be helpful to take an anti-inflammatory medication in addition to your narcotic medication immediately after surgery. Your surgeon will usually recommend this at the time of surgery if appropriate. Stop all anti-inflammatory medications if they cause severe stomach pain, bloody stools, or severe swelling in your extremities.

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What To Expect From Knee Replacement Surgery

To see if knee replacement surgery might be right for you, your doctor will want to confirm that you have arthritis. You have to see that somethings wrong on the x-ray, Dr. Claudette M. Lajam, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Health in New York City and a spokesperson for the AAOS, told TODAY. You can be fooled by other disease processes. For example, a damaged disc in your back could cause pain in your knee.

If you have arthritis, you wont go straight to surgery. Your doctor will want you to try other, less-invasive strategies to reduce your pain.

Those might include:

  • Wearing a knee brace
  • Using shoe inserts

These options can be good alternatives to knee replacement surgery for elderly patients or others who cant undergo surgery.

If these strategies arent controlling your pain, it might be time to consider knee replacement surgery. If the pain is interfering with your life and you cant make it better with other means, you have to consider other ways to fix it, Lajam said.

While its important to exhaust your other options for alleviating your pain, you shouldnt wait too long. There are some dangers of delaying knee replacement surgery.

Is It Normal To Have Nerve Pain After Knee Replacement

Six weeks following total knee replacement , our research has shown that possibly up to 35 percent of individuals have indications of neuropathic pain. It is reasonable to wonder if these people would benefit from receiving specialized therapy for their symptoms.

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When Should I Have A Double Knee Replacement Done

A total knee replacement may be performed if there are signs of advanced joint disease and treatment has failed to provide pain relief. The pain will affect the patients quality of life. A patients age is also determining the factor to a knee replacement should be performed. It is preferred for a patients age in order to perform a total knee replacement.

What Is Knee Replacement Surgery

Recovering Total Knee Replacement Surgery, Healing, Rehab

Knee replacement is where portions of the bones that form the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial implants. It is performed primarily to relieve knee pain and stiffness caused by .

Most people who get this surgery have advanced knee arthritis, in which the knee cartilage is worn away and the surface of the knee becomes pitted, eroded, and uneven. This causes pain, stiffness, instability and a change in body alignment. Knee replacement surgery can also help some people who have a weakened knee joint caused by an injury or other condition. “” rel=”nofollow”> knee replacement specialist at HSS.)

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What Does The Surgery Entail

Your orthopedic surgeon will make a front-of-the-knee incision running directly over the knee cap. Once the knee cap has been moved aside, your surgeon will be able to place the implants covering all surfaces of the knee. The anterior cruciate ligament , meniscus pads, bone spurs and sometimes the posterior cruciate ligament are all removed, while the medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament are maintained.

  • The damaged portions of the femur, tibia, and cartilage are cut away. The bones may be slightly reshaped to create a perfect fit for the implant.
  • Implant components will be attached to the femur and tibia using bone cement. A polyethylene insert is attached to the metal component to act as cartilage between the two bones.
  • The femur and tibia are placed back together to form a new joint. To make sure the kneecap moves smoothly over the surface of the joint, another polyethylene component is cemented to the back of the kneecap.

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