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How To Shower After Knee Surgery

Wait Two Weeks To Shower Following Knee Replacement Surgery

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It may not be necessary for knee replacement patients to wait up to two weeks after surgery before showering, as many surgeons now require, new research indicates.

Rob Greenfield. Photo Brent Martin.

A Loyola Medicine study suggests it may not be necessary for knee replacement patients to wait up to two weeks after surgery before showering, as many surgeons now require.

The study compared patients who were allowed to shower two days after surgery with patients who had to wait 10 to 14 days. Researchers performed bacterial culture swabs of skin next to incisions, and no differences were found between the early-shower and delayed-shower groups. No patient in either group experienced an infection. As expected, patients overwhelmingly preferred being allowed to shower early.

The study is published in the Journal of Arthroplasty. Corresponding author is Harold Rees MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center who specializes in knee and hip replacements. Dr. Rees is an assistant professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

There have been extensive studies on how to prepare orthopaedic surgical sites to reduce the risk of infections, but relatively little research on post-operative wound care regimens. With little evidence-based guidance, individual surgeons base their showering guidelines on anecdote rather than scientific evidence.

Source Science Daily


Toilet Equipment Needed After Tkr Surgery

Make sure your toilet is in good working order before your surgery. If the toilet malfunctions you will not feel like repairing it yourself and who knows how long it will take for a plumber to arrive.

Consider installing handrails next to your toilet. Also, consider renting or purchasing an elevated toilet seat . If not, have a cane, walking poles, or a walker nearby.

Look for stable things like the sink counter that you can use to help get you up and down. Do not use the toilet roll hanger or towel bars.

Oh yea, have plenty of toilet paper within reach!

Keeping The Incision Dry

  • 1Keep the area dry if your doctor instructed you to do so. Keeping the incision area dry, which may mean delaying your shower for 24 to 72 hours after your surgery, is thought to help prevent infection and promote healing.XResearch source
  • Follow your doctorâs instructions. There are many variables involved with surgery, and the risk of developing an infection or damaging the incision can be avoided by following your doctorâs specific directions.XResearch source
  • Keep clean gauze pads nearby to pat the area if needed throughout the day, even when you are not near water.
  • 2Cover the incision. Depending on the specific instructions provided by your surgeon, you may be able to shower when you feel up to it, if the incision is at a place on your body where you can carefully cover the area using a waterproof material.
  • Most surgeons will provide clear instructions for methods they prefer to cover the incision while showering.
  • Use clear plastic wrap, a trash bag, or a cling-type wrap, to completely cover the incision. Use medical tape around the edges to prevent water from seeping inside the covered area.XResearch source
  • For difficult to reach areas, get a family member or friend to cut plastic bags or plastic wrap to cover the area and tape it in place.
  • 3Take a sponge bath. Until your instructions indicate you can proceed with a shower, you can feel more refreshed by taking a sponge bath and still keep the incision dry and unaffected.XResearch source
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    What Happens If You Dont Do Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery

    Why you shouldnt skip physical therapy after knee surgery

    Supporting muscles and soft tissue can begin to atrophy due to nonuse and swelling. Increased strain can be put on the knee from improper movement. Range of motion can be diminished. The healing process can be slowed down due to lack of blood flow to the area.

    Showering After Knee Replacement Surgery

    Post Surgery Wound Care: Wound Care Guide

    One very popular myth about showering after knee replacement surgery is the belief that you need to avoid taking a bath for the short-term after replacement surgery.

    For decades, patients who underwent knee replacement surgery were under the impression that they could not submerge the healing area for at least 14 days or at least until after the skin staples were removed to avoid accidental loss of sutures.

    For most patients, this rule was unpleasant. The majority of patients want to go home, bathe and get rid of all the tape marks, and feel clean. Well, now a study shows that this time-honored advice is unnecessary in most patients.

    Research at Loyola School

    Researchers at Loyola School of medicine recently conducted a study about showering after knee replacement surgery. This study was done by comparing the bacterial skin counts of patients who shower 48 hours after knee arthroplasty to patients who waited between 10-14 days.

    Once researchers swabbed the skin near the incision of the patients who had just bathed. They analyzed microscopic skin cells to see if there was a difference in the bacterial count in the patients who had showered 48-hours after surgery versus the patients who delayed bathing for 10-14 days.

    Upon reviewing the data, they found there was no patient in either group developed any signs of infection and, therefore, that there was no reason to wait two-weeks before showering after knee replacement surgery.

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    One of the questions on the minds of hip or knee replacement surgery patients is how to manage their post surgical dressing. Keeping the incision site clean and protecting it from infection is important for achieving a successful surgical outcome. Heres how to care for your incision and look after your dressing after your surgery.

    Multiple different layers of sutures are used to close the surgical incision. A surgical mesh and glue is then placed on top of the incision and a waterproof dressing is placed on top of it. The surgical dressing needs to remain in place for one week. During this time, you may shower but have no baths. After showering you must gently pat the dressing dry.

    You can remove the surgical dressing yourself after one week. Start from one corner of the dressing and begin to slowly peel it off. After partially removing the dressing, you should be able to see the surgical mesh underneath. Place one finger on the mesh to hold it in place and continue to peel off the dressing in line with the incision.

    If your surgical dressing or mesh gets displaced earlier than the times mentioned above, you should call our office for further instructions. In some instances, you may need to return to the office for a re-application of the dressing.

    How Much Pain Will I Have After My Knee Surgery

    This varies between patients, however, the advances in pain management have allowed our total knee patients sufficient pain relief to undergo this procedure on an outpatient basis. On average, the pain being reported is generally no more than four out of a 10-point scale. You will have one of us by your side when you wake up and throughout the day until you leave our facility. We can address any pain that you may have promptly and efficiently.

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    How To Approach The Toilet With A Walker

    A male will have an easier time urinating. You can roll the walker over the entire toilet. In the early going, the trick is having a good aim while keeping your balance by holding on to the walker.

    You get better with practice. I kept a 64 ounce empty Gatorade bottle by the toilet. It was easier to pee into the plastic bottle and to empty it in the toilet. There was no mess to clean up. For females, it is possible to stand and pee or lay in a bed and pee using a female plastic urinal . The female plastic urinal is handheld and listed on Amazon for under $10.

    It might be worth it to avoid sitting down on a toilet.

    How Long After Surgery Before You Can Take A Bath


    You just had surgery and nothing sounds better than a nice, relaxing bath. But your healthcare provider told you to avoid bathing and swimming. Why is a bath a bad idea immediately after surgery? And when can you safely take a bath again?

    Depending on the type of surgery, plan on waiting anywhere between 12 to 48 hours after your procedure before taking a bath. You may need to wait longer for more serious surgeries. Your surgeon will let you know if this applies to you.

    This article discusses how long you need to wait to take a bath after surgery. It explains why bathing is restricted after surgery, how to clean your body after surgery, and how long you should wait before taking a bath.

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    How Do You Sleep After A Knee Replacement

    The best sleeping position just after your surgery is sleeping on your back. You should make sure that your operative leg stays as straight as possible to avoid hypertension of the knee and keep proper blood flow to the surgery site. If you are sleeping on your back, put the pillow under your calf and knee.

    Washing The Incision Area Safely

  • 1Follow bathing or showering instructions provided by your surgeon. Your doctor knows the extent of the surgery, and how to best proceed with the next steps in the healing process.
  • Each doctor has clear directions for you to follow for the first few days after surgery, including instructions for when it is safe to start bathing and showering. The directions are largely based on the type of surgery that was performed and the way the incision was closed during surgery.
  • The instructions about bathing and showering were provided at the time of your discharge. Contact your doctor promptly if this information has been misplaced, so you can prevent infection, avoid injury, and move forward with your recovery.
  • 2Understand how your incision was closed. Knowing more about the method used to close your incision may help to prevent injury and infection.XResearch source
  • The most common four ways to close a surgical incision are: using surgical sutures, also called stitches staples wound closure strips, sometimes called butterfly band-aids or steri-strips and liquid tissue glue.XResearch source
  • Many surgeons will also apply a waterproof bandage over the incision to allow you to shower as you normally would, when you feel up to it.XResearch source
  • Exposure to gentle streams of water 24 hours after surgery for incisions closed with tissue glue is considered acceptable in most cases.XResearch source
  • Most surgeons recommend resuming the use of your normal soap and hair care products.
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    What If I Have A Question After Surgery Whom Should I Call

    We have two nurses and two administrative assistants who are available to help you before and after surgery to answer any of your questions or concerns. Ideally, we recommend that you call us at 708-236-2738 during normal business hours to have your questions answered by someone who knows Dr. Della Valles protocols and knows you as a patient! While other care providers are available 24hours per day and 7 days per week, we again strongly recommend calling us during normal business hours.

    Bathing Right After Knee Replacement


    During the first 12 days post surgery, I bathed from my sink . I had my wife put down a large beach towel in front of the sink. Then she brought a folding chair and put it on the towel in front of the sink.

    I draped another towel over the chair and sat on that towel. I had soap, a washcloth and a towel nearby. I filled the sink with warm water.

    Using the washcloth without soap I washed my head. I dont have much hair so it wasnt necessary to use shampoo or soap on my head. Next, I lathered up the washcloth with soap.

    I stood using the sink counter for support and washed and rinsed my body. I then sat in the chair and washed my feet and legs. The first few days I could not reach my foot on the surgical knee.

    My wife was kind enough to wash my right foot and my back while I was seated in the chair. She also dried the same foot and my back. I was able to dry the rest of my body while sitting and then standing.

    It was a chore to bathe and I was breathing hard after I was finished. It felt great to be clean and to put on a clean change of clothing.

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    Transferring Into And Out Of A Shower Stall:

    If possible, always enter the shower before turning on the water.Running water is not only distracting but makes the shower floor more slippery.

    Place an absorbent floor mat on the floor just outside the shower to step on when exiting the shower.

    Showering might require some manual assistance from a caregiver to complete the task, but even if no assistance is required, always have someone within hearing distance when showering.The mixture of decreased balance, pain meds, and soapy water is always a dangerous situation.

    A shower chair and a shower hose are a great help in cleaning below the waist.

    Entering the shower stall:

    • Approach the shower entry using the walker and positioning the body sideward to the shower entry with the unoperated extremity closest to the shower lip.
    • Move the walker clockwise or counterclockwise until the back of the walker is facing the shower entry.
    • Keeping one hand on the walker and the other hand inside the shower on the wall or grab bar, lift the unoperated foot up and over the lip of the shower stall and place it flat and firm on the shower floor.
    • Bring the other hand inside the shower placing it on the shower wall or grab bar and bring the operated foot into the shower.
    • Turn on the water and shower.

    Exiting the shower stall:

    Transferring into and out of a tub shower:

    Tub showers are much more difficult to enter and exit than a shower stall because:

    Entering a tub shower:

    Exiting the tub shower:

    How To Clean Your Body After Surgery

    To be very clear, “not bathing or swimming” doesn’t mean avoiding cleaning your body on a regular basis. It means that you should take a shower or a sponge bath until you can safely soak in water. This will decrease the risk of complications with your incision.

    Treat your incision sites with care by washing each one gently. Use mild soap and rinse well.

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    Shower After Knee Surgery Ok

    There is good news for recipients of new kneesthey may not have to wait two weeks following their surgery before taking a shower. A study, led by Harold Rees, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, found no differences in bacterial swabs taken from those who waited two weeks to shower compared with those allowed to shower after about two days.

    The study followed 32 patients. Researchers randomly assigned half to shower after two weeks. The other half showered as soon as their surgical dressing was removedusually two days after surgery.

    The study found that none of the patients developed a post-operative infection. And, to no ones surprise, the study authors discovered that patients permitted to shower sooner were much happier than those who could not.

    According to the report, published online in the Journal of Arthroplasty, being able to shower soon after surgery was a priority for the majority of both groups. Given a choice, the study participants said they would have preferred to shower sooner rather than later after their surgery.

    “What is needed now is a larger-scale study that can evaluate if early versus delayed wound cleaning has any effect on surgical-site wound infection risk for , ” the researchers wrote.

    When Can I Shower Or Take A Bath After Surgery

    Tips on How and When To Take a Shower After Total Joint Surgery

    A traditional concept regarding surgical wounds and bathing is that the water touching the wound will increase the rate of wound infection. However, published research demonstrates no increase in the overall rate of wound infections or complications when patients showered as early as 24-48 hours after surgery. The rationale for restrictions to showering and bathing after surgery is related to maceration or weakening of the incision line as it becomes wet and soft, as well as keeping any glue or skin adhesives the physician may have used to the incisions from falling off prematurely. This doesnt mean avoiding cleaning your body on a routine basis. It means that you should take a sponge bath until you can shower, and avoid soaking the surgical site until the incision is completely healed.

    Your surgeon will best determine when it is best for you to shower after surgery as these decisions are directed to your individual circumstances, procedure type, closure technique and site of the surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, plan on waiting anywhere between 24 to 48 hours to take a shower unless your surgeon has given you specific instructions otherwise.

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    Shaving After Knee Replacement

    I tried shaving standing up the second day after my TKR. I used the walker for support but the majority of the weight was on my good leg and I wasnt very comfortable.

    After my first shave, I made it a point to shave every other day when I was bathing. I stood for short periods of time with the aid of the walker but spent most of the time shaving while sitting in the chair.


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