How Long Will Total Knee Replacement Surgery Take
Urquhart: I like to put it in perspective for patients by using a flight analogy. While the actual operation may only take an hour or so, similar to a one-hour flight from Detroit to St. Louis, you should still budget plenty of time for the multiple steps before and after surgery just like the added time you budget to spend at the airport for security, checking your bags, etc.
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Can Rehabilitation Be Done At Home
All patients are given a set of home exercises to do between supervised physical therapy sessions and the home exercises make up an important part of the recovery process. However, supervised therapy–which is best done in an outpatient physical therapy studio–is extremely helpful and those patients who are able to attend outpatient therapy are encouraged to do so.
For patients who are unable to attend outpatient physical therapy, home physical therapy is arranged.
Possible Benefits Of Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Regardless of whether a traditional total knee replacement or a minimally-invasive partial knee replacement is performed the goals and possible benefits are the same: relief of pain and restoration of function.
The large majority of total knee replacement patients experience substantial or complete relief of pain once they have recovered from the procedure. The large majority walk without a limp and most dont require a cane, even if they used one before the surgery. It is quite likely that you know someone with a knee replacement who walks so well that you dont know he even had surgery!
Frequently the stiffness from arthritis is also relieved by the surgery. Very often the distance one can walk will improve as well because of diminished pain and stiffness. The enjoyment of reasonable recreational activities such as golf, dancing, traveling, and swimming almost always improves following total knee replacement.
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What To Expect After Knee Replacement
A patients recovery and rehabilitation plan is crucial to the overall success of knee replacement surgery. A recovery and rehabilitation plan can help the patient:
- Leave the hospital sooner
- Regain knee strength and range of motion more quickly
- Resume independent living sooner
- Avoid potential complications
Typically, knee replacement patients are able to leave the hospital within 1 to 5 days , and they can take care of themselves and resume most activities 6 weeks after surgery. The majority of patients are 90% recovered after 3 months, though it can take 6 months or longer before they are 100% recovered.
Some knee replacement patients do not follow the typical recovery timeline. For example:
- Patients who did knee-strengthening exercises in preparation for surgery sometimes recover more quickly.
- Patients who are older, smoke, or have other medical conditions may take longer to heal.
Deviation from the typical recovery timeline cannot always be predicted, but these differences are usually okay as long as the patient, doctor, and physical therapist, continue to work together towards a full recovery.
When Should I Seek Medical Attention After Knee Replacement
After you go home, call your healthcare provider right away if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain and/or shortness of breath.
- Fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit .
- Incision problems, like bleeding, leaking, swelling, redness or odor.
- Pain in your calf, ankle or foot that is new and gets worse.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have severe knee pain but medications and therapy arent helping, knee replacement may provide the answer. This common and effective surgery can reduce pain and get you back to everyday activities. Talk to your healthcare provider or an orthopedic provider about whether knee arthroplasty is a good option for you.
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When Can A Knee Replacement Patient Leave The Hospital
Most knee replacement patients will be discharged once pain is under control and they are able to:
- Get in and out of bed and walk short distances with the aid of a walker or crutches
- Get into and out of bed and get up and down stairs
- Bend the knee 90 degrees
- Follow precautions to avoid injuring the new knee
Discharge criteria can vary depending on the patient and the hospitals policy. For example, some hospitals may require the patient to only bend the knee 80 degrees.
Some patients meet the criteria for discharge after just one or two days. People who have two knees replaced at the same time, certain pre-existing medical conditions, uncontrolled pain, or general weakness may be kept in the hospital longer.
See Facts and Considerations for Total Knee Replacement
Discharge to a rehabilitation facilityPatients who live in multi-level homes, who do not have live-in caregivers, or who face other rehabilitation challenges may be discharged to a short-term care facility that provides health care and physical and occupational therapy. These stays may be covered by insurance, depending on the policy and patient circumstances.
How Long Does It Take To Walk After A Knee Replacement
Most patients progress to a straight cane, walker or crutches within two or three days after surgery. As the days progress, the distance and frequency of walking will increase.
Patients are usually able to drive a car within three to six weeks after surgery and resume all other normal activities by or before six weeks. Complete recuperation and return to full strength and mobility may take up to four months. However, in many cases, patients are significantly more mobile one month after surgery than they were before they had their knee replacement
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Helping Patients To Make Informed Decisions
We’re funding research to improve patient experience before, during and after knee replacement surgery. This includes a project based at the University of Sheffield which aims to help patients make informed decisions about their surgery. The research team will use the UK National Joint Registry dataset to develop and validate a personalised, web-based decision aid to help patients considering knee joint replacement to make informed choices about their treatment.
Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery
A knee replacement surgery is a major operation, but the recovery from this surgery is now easier due to less invasive surgical techniques and procedures. With a successful knee replacement performed by a skilled surgeon, you can become fully independent in 4 to 6 weeks. Recovery after a knee replacement is not much painful or uncomfortable. Most people recover just fine, and return to regular life and sports in a couple of months. It is normal to have some swelling or discomfort after the surgery, which will be managed by medications prescribed by the surgeon. As long as you take your medications on time, follow the recovery tips, take necessary precautions and follow your physiotherapy plan, no complications should arise. But if any side effects or complications arise, call your doctor right away.
After surgery, most people experience significant improvements in the quality of their life. But, it will not happen all at once. It usually takes around 4 to 6 weeks to return to most activities, and it can take up to 6 to 8 months to make a full recovery and regain full strength.
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Dangers And Risks Of Putting Off Knee Replacement Surgery
Patients often delay knee replacement surgery because of fear of the procedure or concerns about the recovery process. Interestingly, while many people worry about what could possibly happen if they undergo knee replacement surgery, fewer stop to think about what will likely happen if they wait:
- Increased knee pain
- Further damage to the joint
- Reduced mobility and ability to use the knee
Continuing to delay knee replacement surgery can bring about serious consequences, such as the inability to walk, work and perform normal daily tasks.
Knee Replacement Surgery May Be More Complex the Longer You Wait
The longer a patient waits to have knee surgery, the more complicated the surgery can become. Here are some ways the procedure can become more complex when a person delays knee replacement surgery:
- The knee may become deformed and therefore harder to replace
- The surgical procedure can take longer
- Kneecap resurfacing may be required
- Options may become more limited. For instance, early on, a patient may only need a partial knee replacement, but if they wait, they may need total knee replacement which is a more complex procedure.
Delaying Knee Replacement Surgery May Diminish Health
Make a Knee Replacement Surgery Appointment
Most patients who have had knee replacement surgery not only report positive outcomes including reduced pain or complete freedom from knee pain, many say they would have had knee replacement surgery sooner.
Knee Replacement Surgeon In Avon And Westlake Oh
Our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons at Orthopaedic Associates, Inc. routinely perform knee replacement surgery and will walk you through what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. We offer a full range of orthopedic services that help patients get back to their normal lives. To schedule a knee replacement consultation, call us today at 892-1440. Our friendly staff looks forward to serving you.
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Recovering At Home & Making Progress
Its also important to note that the recovery process will be much smoother if patients recover at home because it allows them plenty of time for rest without worrying about being around too many people.
This is why most doctors recommend physical therapy sessions and attending massages to help speed up recovery times. If pain ever becomes too concerning to handle, it may be necessary for patients to consider taking stronger painkillers.
Recovering at home is also beneficial because it allows patients plenty of time to rest without worrying about being around people, which can help speed up their recovery rate.
Will I Need Any Treatments After Knee Replacement
Your healthcare team will prescribe medications to help you manage pain after surgery, such as:
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.
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How Long Does Pain Last After Knee Replacement Surgery
Chronic pain is defined as pain persisting for three months or longer. Its a condition that affects roughly 20% of knee replacement surgery patients. It can develop and increase in intensity in the weeks and months following surgery. This can have a huge impact on your overall quality of life. Talk to your doctor for help.
Here Are Some Of The Reasons You Might Need Knee Surgery:
- Stiffness in the joint and pain makes it difficult to walk, stand up, or climb stairs
- You often have swelling in the knee area
- Chronic pain bothers you when resting
- The pain is disrupting your sleep
- The knee has defects or is bowed
- Medication and physical therapy havent been effective in managing the pain
If you can relate to any of these symptoms, then its time to talk to a sports medicine doctor about your treatment options.
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Looking For Alternatives To Total Knee Replacements
We’re also funding research which is investigating alternative approaches to total knee replacement. For example, total knee replacement is not recommended for many young people. This study aims to develop a new method called ToKa®, which uses images of the patient’s joint and specially designed software to design a patient specific implant that will be made via 3D printing. If successful, this technique could prevent osteoarthritis patients from needing total joint replacement.
Malpositioning Of The Implants
Surgeons make an effort to balance the knee at the time of surgery. This means finding the proper size and alignment of the knee replacement so that the knee joint is not too tight, and not too loose, and so this balancing is the same with the knee straight and bent.
This is precisely why a knee replacement is a difficult procedure, and the art of perfecting this takes many years. Errors in the positioning of an implant may not be apparent on the operating table and only become evident when the recovery is stalled.
Newer patient-specific knee replacements are tailor-made and may reduce the risk of malpositioning.
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What Happens During The Procedure
Most knee replacement surgery is performed under a combination of general anesthesia, peripheral nerve blocks, and spinal anesthesia. You will also receive at least one dose of antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
During the procedure, the surgeon will remove bone and diseased cartilage from where your thigh bone and shin bone meet at your knee joint.
Those surfaces are then replaced with a metal implant. A piece of special plastic is normally used to replace the backside of the kneecap and finally, this same plastic material is placed in between the two metal parts.
This gives both bones of your knee joint smooth surfaces again so they can flex and bend more freely and painlessly.
Recommended Exercises After Knee Replacement Surgery
Following knee replacement surgery, its important to take part in recommended exercises that will help strengthen the muscles and prevent atrophy.
It is also very beneficial for patients to participate in activities such as walking or swimming because this helps improve blood flow without putting too much strain on their joints.
Here are some of the recommended exercises:
Towel Under Heel Knee Straigtening
For the hip, we include:
- Hip bends
- Hip abductions or clamshells
- Prone hip extensions
These are just some examples of effective exercises. The best way to recover is to determine an individual approach to the issue at hand. Therefore, what works for others may not work for you, and vice versa.
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How Your New Knee Is Different
Improvement of knee motion is a goal of total knee replacement, but restoration of full motion is uncommon. The motion of your knee replacement after surgery can be predicted by the range of motion you have in your knee before surgery. Most patients can expect to be able to almost fully straighten the replaced knee and to bend the knee sufficiently to climb stairs and get in and out of a car. Kneeling is sometimes uncomfortable, but it is not harmful.
Most people feel some numbness in the skin around your incision. You also may feel some stiffness, particularly with excessive bending activities.
Most people also feel or hear some clicking of the metal and plastic with knee bending or walking. This is a normal. These differences often diminish with time and most patients find them to be tolerable when compared with the pain and limited function they experienced prior to surgery.
Your new knee may activate metal detectors required for security in airports and some buildings. Tell the security agent about your knee replacement if the alarm is activated.
Nerve And Other Tissue Damage
There’s a small risk that the ligaments, arteries or nerves will be damaged during surgery.
- Fewer than 1 in 100 patients have nerve damage and this usually improves gradually in time.
- About 1 in 100 have some ligament damage this is either repaired during the operation or protected by a brace while it heals.
- About 1 in 1,000 suffer damage to arteries that usually needs further surgery to repair.
- In about 1 in 5,000 cases blood flow in the muscles around the new joint is reduced . This usually also needs surgery to correct the problem.
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Similar Conditions That Affect The Knee
Sometimes patients with knee pain don’t have arthritis at all. Each knee has two rings of cartilage called “menisci” . The menisci work similarly to shock absorbers in a car.
Menisci may be torn acutely in a fall or as the result of other trauma or they may develop degenerative tears from wear-and-tear over many years. Patients with meniscus tears experience pain along the inside or outside of the knee. Sometimes the pain is worse with deep squatting or twisting. Popping and locking of the knee are also occasional symptoms of meniscus tears.
Since some of these symptoms may be present with arthritis and the treatment of arthritis is different from that of meniscus tears, it is important to make the correct diagnosis. A good orthopedic surgeon can distinguish the two conditions by taking a thorough history, performing a careful physical examination, and by obtaining imaging tests. X-rays and Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans may be helpful in distinguishing these two conditions.
Knee Joint Infections
Also called infectious arthritis or septic arthritis, a joint infection is a severe problem that requires emergent medical attention. If not treated promptly knee infections can cause rapid destruction of the joint. In the worst cases they can become life-threatening.Symptoms of a knee joint infection include:
- severe pain
- fevers and
Again, a joint infection is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
When Do You Need To Call Your Orthopedic Surgeon After Knee Replacement
Signs of infection, such as-
Increased pain, warmth, swelling or redness.
Pus draining or unusual discharge from the incision.
Signs of a blood clot, such as-
Pain in the calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin area.
Redness or swelling in the legs or groin.
Incision opens up and begins to bleed
Severe pain that does not get better even after taking painkillers.
Shortness of breath
Follow up care after knee replacement surgery
In the first year after your knee replacement surgery, you will have regular follow up consultations with your orthopedic surgeon. During these visits, the doctor will note about your progress, discuss your comfort level, mobility, how the new knee is working for you and may take X-rays for better evaluation. The doctor will address any of the concerns you might have and will make sure you are healing well.
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