What Can I Expect During Recovery And Rehabilitation
Most people are up and walking within 24 hours with the aid of a walker or crutches.
Following your operation, a physical therapist will help you bend and straighten your knee, get out of bed, and ultimately learn to walk with your new knee. This is often done on the same day of your operation.
Most people are discharged from the hospital 23 days after surgery.
After you return home, therapy will continue regularly for several weeks. Specific exercises will aim to improve the functionality of the knee.
If your condition necessitates it, or if you dont have the support you need at home, your doctor may recommend spending time at a rehabilitation or nursing facility first.
Most people recover within 3 months, although it may take 6 months or longer for some people to recover fully.
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.
Wait Times: How Long Until You Get Your Surgery
Wait times for joint replacement surgeries are considerably long. But, how long is the wait exactly? In Ontario, wait times are not the same across cities and hospitals. Interestingly enough, there is now an official website where you can compare wait times for a specific surgery in hospitals near you. You can even check:
Unfortunately, the wait time between the date in which you receive a referral from your family physician to your initial consultation with your surgeon can be up to 6 months.
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Morning Consultation With The Surgeon After Tkr Surgery
My roommate and I were woken up by our surgeon at 6:00 am. He told us he was here for a quick check up and he would remove the drain tube in our leg.
He would also remove the outer ace bandage. He jokingly said that this would be the last time he hurt us .
He reminded us that although we were in pain now hed be our best friend in 10 days. After taking out the drain plug he talked to us privately about how the surgery went.
He shared that the inside of my knee was ugly. He was surprised I could walk at all prior to surgery. He thought I should have had the surgery several years ago and reminded me the surgery went smoothly. He believed I would experience a much better functioning and pain-free knee.
After the surgeon left, the day shift nursing staff took over. These nurses were familiar faces from the first day of surgery.
I started out with an advanced liquid diet breakfast. They unhooked all my monitors and IVs and asked me if I wanted to walk to the bathroom then sit in a chair for breakfast.
I did both and was served a breakfast of cream of wheat, yogurt, apple juice, a carton of milk and a cup of coffee. They also gave me a copy of the small local newspaper that I was able to read.
My wife came in for a visit just as the Physical Therapists came into the room. My therapist wanted me to take a short walk down the hall using my walker.
During my wait, the nurse gave me a shot of Hebron in my stomach to thin my blood and help prevent any clotting.
Joint Replacement Surgeries In Canada
By 2031, its projected that nearly one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65. As a large percentage of the Canadian population reaches this age bracket, joint replacement surgeries are going to become more common.
Knee replacement and hip replacement surgeries have already earned the top spots as the most common types of inpatient surgeries in Canada, directly after caesarean section deliveries. In fact, the Canadian Institute for Health Information recorded a 20% increase in hip replacement surgeries and a 20.3% increase in knee replacement surgeries between 2009-2010 and 2014-2015.
Why are so many Canadians having joint replacement surgeries? Well, as a result of the advancing age of the general population, a significant number of Canadians are beginning to experience osteoarthritis and/or fractures from falls, which then creates a huge demand for knee and hip replacements.
Unfortunately, this can mean longer wait times for surgery. But luckily, Canadians live in a country in which these surgeries and some of the post-operative care are covered by our healthcare system.
Specifically, residents of Ontario account for more than 38% of the Canadian population, so the increasing need for joint replacement surgeries will have the most impact on Ontarios healthcare system.
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The Best Advice About Tkr Is Word Of Mouth From Formertkr Patients
When I was doing research prior to my TKR surgery I searchedthe Internet and found very few articles about patient personal experiences.Most of the articles contained information written by medical professionalswith general information about what to expect.
My best information came from friends and acquaintances that had previously experienced TKR. They gave me valuable information that helped me prepare for my surgery and what to expect during my recovery process.
No two stories were the same and it was good to hear several different personal TKR experiences. I took their advice when selecting my surgeon and also the time of year they suggested to schedule my surgery.
If you dont know anyone who has undergone knee replacement surgery, I hope you can learn from me.
Knee Replacement Recovery Phase : Weeks 13 And Beyond
After 13 weeks since your surgery, most patients are happy to see the finish line. Some patients may still be attending physical therapy to reach the goals you set entirely, while others are safe for discharge. Both scenarios are expected, and it varies from person to person.
Providing you have not experienced any major setbacks or complications, pain should be almost nonexistent. It is a good idea to still check in with your healthcare team. If you have pain, swelling, stiffness, or unusual movement, it is always best to call your doctor immediately.
At Balanced Physical Therapy, we understand how important fully recovering from knee surgery is to our patients. From your first evaluation, we take the time to understand everything about you and your condition. Our treatments consist of one-on-one therapy with board-certified physical therapists who are always willing to help. Call us at 741-5806 or visit our Appointments page to schedule an evaluation.
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What Type Of Anaesthetic Will I Need
There are two different types of anaesthetic for this operation:
- A spinal anaesthetic
- A general anaesthetic
At the pre-assessment clinic you can talk about the type of anaesthetic for your knee replacement. An anaesthetist will explain to you which type of anaesthetic is most suitable for you but your preference will always be taken into account. Most people have a spinal anaesthetic.
Preparation For Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery usually will undergo a pre-operative surgical risk assessment. When necessary, further evaluation will be performed by an internal medicine physician who specializes in pre-operative evaluation and risk-factor modification. Some patients will also be evaluated by an anesthesiologist in advance of the surgery.
Routine blood tests are performed on all pre-operative patients. Chest X-rays and electrocardiograms are obtained in patients who meet certain age and health criteria as well.
Surgeons will often spend time with the patient in advance of the surgery, making certain that all the patient’s questions and concerns, as well as those of the family, are answered.
The surgeon’s office should provide a reasonable estimate of:
- the surgeon’s fee
- the degree to which these should be covered by the patient’s insurance.
Total Knee Replacement Surgical Team
The total knee requires an experienced orthopedic surgeon and the resources of a large medical center. Some patients have complex medical needs and around surgery often require immediate access to multiple medical and surgical specialties and in-house medical, physical therapy, and social support services.
Finding an experienced surgeon to perform your total knee replacement
Some questions to consider asking your knee surgeon:
- Are you board certified in orthopedic surgery?
- Have you done a fellowship in joint replacement surgery?
- How many knee replacements do you do each year?
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Risks Of Knee Replacement Surgery
Knee replacement surgery is a common operation and most people do not have complications. However, as with any operation, there are risks as well as benefits.
Complications are rare but can include:
- stiffness of the knee
- infection of the joint replacement, needing further surgery
- unexpected bleeding into the knee joint
- ligament, artery or nerve damage in the area around the knee joint
- persistent pain in the knee
- a break in the bone around the knee replacement during or after the operation
In some cases, the new knee joint may not be completely stable and further surgery may be needed to correct it.
Merino Wool Socks With Rubber Grip
These marino wool socks with bottom grips are a solid brand that makes quality socks. Because I was always wearing shorts after knee surgery, I wanted socks that would keep my toes warm.
Thick wool socks did the trick and gave me a little extra cushion. Just as important was the grip on the bottom so I wouldnt slide on the floor.
These socks are mostly wool but use some other materials to keep elasticity against your foot. For a decent price you get 2 pairs not bad.
There are many options out there for clothing after TKR. You could even visit the thrift store to find good quality clothes perfect for your recovery and you can get rid of them once youve healed.
You wont want 2nd hand socks though.
The items I mentioned above will stay with me for many years, long after Im healed.
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Discharged After Knee Replacement Surgery
My wife left and my son visited to take me home. The nurse and I decided on the pain medication I would be using at home.
At her suggestion, I elected to take Percocet. My prescription was to be filled by my local pharmacy and was for 50 pills. I was to take one every four hours.
Another hospital worker came by and gave me a choice of several home Physical Therapists that would visit my home. She also asked if I could choose an off site Physical Therapist after my 7 visits at home were over.
My family called a few friends and neighbors who had recently had surgery and they asked them for suggestions. When the hospital worker returned I made my decision, signed papers, and was told I would receive a phone call to set up my first physical therapy appointment.
The nurse returned and had me sign discharge papers and gave me a bathing kit and a bag of some hospital issue items that I could take home. I was given my change of clothing and again signed a paper saying all my belongings were in the bag.
It took some effort to change from my hospital gown into my regular clothes and was told to wait for the hospital volunteer that would drive me to my car in a wheel chair. After goodbyes to the staff and my roommate, a volunteer named Joseph wheeled me out to my car.
Will I Need Anything Special At Home
You will need crutches and/or a walker and handrails for the stairs leading to your house. Optional things include a raised toilet seat and handrails around the toilet, bath areas and stairwells. Any scatter rugs should be removed and torn areas in the carpet or tile tacked down to prevent falling. In addition, watch out for pets that may get underfoot!
When preparing for surgery, you should begin thinking about the recovery period after you leave the hospital. Discharge from the hospital is usually in about one to two days and a patient with a new total knee replacement is strongly encouraged to have someone at home to assist with dressing, getting meals and so on for the first couple of weeks.
If assistance from someone at home is not possible, please discuss this with your surgeon. It may be necessary to think about arranging to stay a few weeks in a skilled extended care facility, an acute rehab unit, or receive therapy at home with in-home care. To qualify for these options, you must meet certain criteria as directed by Medicare and/or your insurance carrier. If needed, outpatient therapy can be arranged in a facility near your home.
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Who Should Consider Total Knee Replacement Surgery
It is usually reasonable to try a number of non-operative interventions before considering knee replacement surgery of any type. Prior to surgery an orthopedic surgeon may offer medications knee injections or exercises. A surgeon may talk to patients about activity modification weight loss or use of a cane.
The decision to undergo the total knee replacement is a “quality of life” choice. Patients typically have the procedure when they find themselves avoiding activities that they used to enjoy because of knee pain. When basic activities of daily life–like walking shopping or reasonable recreational pastimes–are inhibited or prevented by the knee pain it may be reasonable to consider the surgery.
Engage In Physical Activity
Exercise not only improves your mood, but helps to improve the function of your joint. Additionally, physical activity can help reduce blood clots in your legs , reduce your pain, and help prevent constipation.
Dont worry, your physiotherapist will teach you how to do daily exercises, use the stairs safely, and walk with your walker . Just make sure to take it slow at first before your physiotherapist gives you specific instructions and exercises.
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Spring Shutdown To Summer Catch
The early 2020 arrival of COVID-19 in the United States left orthopedic surgeons and their patients scrambling. Elective surgeries were cancelled, which includes the vast majority of joint replacement procedures . Some patients who had just undergone surgery were stranded with uncertain physical therapy logistics. Others looking ahead to surgery were either eager to delay or desperate to proceed.
There was a spectrum of responses, says William Macaulay, MD, Chief of the Division of Adult Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Health in New York City. Certain patients in the beginning of March saw what was going on and said, Lets get this done now. But Id say more than 70 percent were delighted when we called and said were going to put your surgery off for a couple of months.
According to a May 2020 survey from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons , 34 percent of patients postponed orthopedic surgeries by more than three months.
For some patients, however, the thought of waiting was unbearable.
Right before we were shut down, I had a patient in their 70s at high risk for COVID, and I asked if they wanted to reschedule, Dr. Haas remembers. They said, Doc, I dont care about COVID, I cant live like this. We went ahead with the surgery and they did an amazing job.
I Was Still Up For A Challenge
TKR also reminded me that I still can give that extra effort for something that I want really bad. After accepting the pain and the limping for so many years, the thought of walking normally and participating in activities that I enjoy pain-free put the fire back in the belly .
I remembered sports injuries in my younger days when I listened to coaches and therapists, followed their advice and worked hard in order to return to the playing field as soon as possible. I learned then that hard work and patience were important .
Hard work and patience were both important to my TKR recovery.
The first several weeks were indeed trying. Looking back now 9 months later, I am very satisfied and proud of all the hard work and the time that I am devoting to my recovery .
It is still easy to quit exercising or to take shortcuts, but I continue to give rehab my best effort and I have seen positive results.
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Getting Ready To Go Home
Before you go home, you will need to:
- Be able to move or transfer in and out of bed, in and out of chairs, and off and on the toilet without help and safely
- Bend your knees almost to a right angle or 90Â°
- Walk on a level surface with crutches or a walker, without any other help
- Walk up and down some steps with help
Some people need a short stay in a rehabilitation center or a skilled nursing facility after they leave the hospital and before they go home. During the time you spend here, you will learn how to safely do your daily activities on your own. You will also have time to build strength while you recover from your surgery.