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When Can I Drive After Total Knee Replacement Surgery

How I Made Flying After Tkr A Success

When Can I Drive After Total Hip Or Knee Replacement

Great news! When I received my boarding pass it was labeled TSA Pre-approved. No waiting in long lines and plus I did not have to remove my shoes.

The regular TSA lines were more than a half hour wait and I was able to zoom through the pre-approved line. I did set the security alarm off and was briefly rerouted to the full body scan where I told them I had just had TKR.

After the body scan, they used a wand around my knee and then sent me on my way . I was concerned about getting a bad seat so I went directly to the gate counter and explained that I had TKR 2 months ago and that this was my first flight since the surgery.

I asked if I could be included in the early boarding group. The attendant changed my boarding pass without asking any questions and my wife was able to accompany me in the early boarding group. If youve had knee replacement within a few months Id recommend doing this!

I was told that I could sit anywhere except in an exit row. I was fifth in line when we boarded and I chose a bulkhead right aisle seat in the first row near the bathroom. I could stretch out my leg and elevate it against the bulkhead and also stretch it out in the aisle.

I had to be careful to keep my foot out of the aisle when the other passengers were boarding and when the flight attendants went up and down the aisle. During the flight, I sat comfortably and took a walk the length of the plane every 45 minutes. I kept busy doing crossword puzzles and I did ankle pumps every ten minutes.

How Long Will I Be In The Hospital

Most people are in the hospital from 1-2 days. Most patients return directly home after discharge from the hospital. However, there are some patients who live alone, have no available caregivers or who require some additional recovery. These patients may qualify for a short-term rehab stay at an outside facility for further physical therapy.

Exercise And Getting Around

Your physical therapist will encourage you to begin walking as soon as possible. At first, you will use an assistive device, but it is best to use this only as long as you need it. Walking without a device will help you regain strength in your knee.

Working with the physical therapist for those first weeks is important as it will allow the therapist to detect any knee problems.

You can start walking farther and begin to engage in other activities after about 12 weeks.

Swimming and other types of water exercise are good options, as these low-impact activities are easy on your knee. Make sure your wound has completely healed before entering a pool.

Avoid placing weights on your leg and doing leg lifts on weight machines for the first few months, until you get the go-ahead from your physical therapist or doctor.

Your new knee will make it much easier to engage in a diverse array of activities. However, its important not to put too much stress on the joint.

The AAOS recommends the following activities:

  • walking

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Tips For Traveling After Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure often employed when nonsurgical and conservative treatments fail to deliver adequate results to a damaged knee joint. This surgery involves the removal of a damaged knee joint and replacement of it with an artificial joint.

One of the most significant concerns of those who undergo knee replacement surgery is how fast they can recover, so they can begin traveling again. Whether its for work or vacation, traveling is a common activity that all of us partake in.

Traveling can involve a few minutes to several hours of inactivity, depending on the distance you are traveling. Inactivity can lead to issues such as pain, swelling, and deep vein thrombosis .

To avoid DVT and other complications, here are some tips for traveling after knee replacement surgery.

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What Are Some Good And Bad Positions For My Knee During Recovery

Road to Recovery following Knee Replacement

You should spend some time each day working on flexion and extension of the knee. Although it may be more comfortable, you should NOT use a pillow.

Early on after surgery it is important to keep the knee as straight as possible except when specifically working on bending. Flexion will continue to improve over the first several weeks post-operatively, but extension is often maximized after the first couple of weeks.

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How Long Will I Be On Pain Medication

Total joint replacement is a big surgery. It is not unusual to require some form of pain medication for approximately 6-8 weeks. Initially, the medication will be a strong oral narcotic such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. Most people begin to wean off their strong pain medication 3-4 weeks after surgery, requiring it mostly around times of therapy. Moderate strength medication, like Celebrex, Meloxicam or Ibuprofen and/or Tylenol may be needed for an additional 3-4 weeks.

When Can Patients Safely Drive After A Total Knee Replacement

Patients usually want to get back to their normal activities as soon as and as safely as they possibly can after undergoing total knee replacement surgery. Driving is an integral aspect of activity resumption to re-establish social and recreational independence.

Due to increased longevity of the population and an associated increase in age-related degenerative conditions like arthritis, the number of total knee replacements around the world will increase rapidly.

3-D printed patient-specific instrumented guides/blocks that are custom made for the patient involve a smaller incision with minimal soft tissue disruption and improved accuracy in Knee replacement . This also promotes enhanced recovery after knee replacement surgery where patients mobilise early. Rapid recovery is achieved, as well as increased post-operative comfort and motion.

Studies have demonstrated that if patients are unable to drive it presents a significant obstacle, and in the older population the inability to drive may be associated with reduced mobility, loneliness and increased incidence of depression. Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of returning to work as soon as possible following a joint replacement, for both social and economic reasons.

Dr Nizam has done one of the largest studies where 160 PSI total knee replacements were evaluated on patients with a mean age of 68 .

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Managing Your Recovery At Home

To begin with, its normal to experience:

  • tiredness get plenty of rest, but then its important to slowly increase your activity
  • swelling to ease this, keep your leg raised when sitting and use the cryocuff cold compress we gave you, or apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel
  • pain take any painkillers weve prescribed until youre pain free

Here are a few things you can do to strengthen your knee, avoid damaging it and help your wound heal:

  • Keep your wound dry for 45 days afterwards, and use a waterproof dressing when you have a bath or shower
  • Continue the exercises the physiotherapist showed you
  • Try low-impact activities like walking and gradually increase how far you walk
  • Keep using your crutches or walking stick for as long as you feel you need to
  • Dont lift anything heavy or do any strenuous exercise
  • Youll be able to bend your knee 90-120 degrees, but you should avoid kneeling down
  • Dont sit with your legs crossed for the first 6 weeks
  • Avoid twisting at your knee

What Should I Do About Other Concerns

Outpatient Total Knee Replacement, what can I expect right after surgery?

If youre unsure about anything regarding driving following your knee replacement operation, have a chat with your doctor or physiotherapist. When planning your recovery, they will offer guidance and advice. You can also discuss it with us too, of course well be happy to help. For more information on the recovery process, you can find other resources, such as this article, on our website: How long does it take to recover from a total knee replacement? A surgeons timeline.

If you have concerns about driving again after a knee replacement, or would like more information, you can schedule a consultation with Mr Christopher Arthur Bailey on his Top Doctors profile.

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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.

Costs

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?

When Can I Expect To Drive Again How Many Weeks

A benchmark estimate youve probably seen online or read in your hospitals pamphlet is that youre likely to drive again between 6-8 weeks . Although it can be helpful to have a number in mind, not all patients will drive at the 6-8 week mark, and some patients will drive before. Older studies, like the 2003 study Brake Response Time After Total Knee Arthroplasty, suggested that 6 weeks was the minimum before operating a vehicle for most knee replacements.

Newer studies have found that due to recent advances in surgical technique, pain management, and rehabilitation right-sided total knee replacement patients may be ready to safely drive as early as 4 weeks post-op. This study looked at 29 patients having right TKA and measured the groups preoperative breaking and reaction times compared to post-op reaction times. The study found that all 29 patients passed the brake response test by 4 weeks after surgery. In addition, the study found that by 4 weeks after surgery, reaction times for breaking had surpassed the patients preoperative reaction times.

According to the study, Patients who had a contemporary TKA with less tissue disruption, a multimodal pain management protocol, and aggressive rehabilitation returned to their preoperative braking reaction time by 4 weeks after surgery.

In sum, patients that tend to drive the fastest:

What is multimodal pain management? Find out what exactly it is and how it can reduce your opioid use for pain management.

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Duration How Long Will It Take To Return To Driving After Knee Replacement

Talk to your surgeon before surgery. Ask about your ability to return to driving. Some surgeons will recommend waiting up to 6-weeks before they approve you to return to driving .

One study suggests that reaction time and a patients ability to transfer the right leg from one pedal to another was delayed for as long as 8-weeks .

Things No One Ever Tells You About Getting A Knee Replacement

Recovery After a Total Knee Replacement

Heres what you need to know thats not in the brochure: 1. You might not be a good candidate.A study published last year by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond questioned the value of knee replacement for some of the people rushing to get it. After analyzing data from a large study of men and women who had the operation, the researchers found that fully one-third of them were not actually good candidates for the surgery, which is why they got only a very modest benefita 2-point improvement on a common measure of knee function, compared with a 20-point improvement for people who started out with really bad knees.

âPain that doesnt go away and moderate to severe arthritis are necessary for a knee replacement to do its job,â Lajam says. âIf you have the surgery, but its actually a problem of nerve pain, hip pain, or circulation, its not going to help you.â The advice here is not to wait until your knees are completely destroyed before seeking surgery, but to make sure that youve tried other measures first and that you meet both criteriaconsistent pain and advanced arthritis.

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How Long Will I Be On A Blood Thinner

You will be placed on low-dose Aspirin twice a day during your recovery in the hospital. You will go home with a prescription for low-dose Aspirin that will be taken twice a day for 2 weeks.

If you are on Coumadin or Xarelto prior to surgery, it is important to let your knee replacement doctor and the anesthesia staff know prior to surgery so the necessary adjustment can be made. Most patients will stop their Coumadin 7 days prior to surgery and switch to an injectable blood thinner up until the night before surgery. Once the surgery is over, you will continue the injectable and Coumadin until your Coumadin levels have returned to their pre-operative levels. If you have had a history of blood clots or pulmonary embolism, additional arrangements may also be made.

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Technical Details Of Total Knee Replacement

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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Knee Replacement Recovery Time Guide

Here we will look at total knee replacement recovery time, including what happens at what stage post-op and how long it typically takes to get back to your usual activity.

If are having or have had only one side of your knee replaced, visit the partial knee replacement recovery time section instead to found out how it will be for you.

Knee replacement recovery time will vary from person to person, and may be affected by:

  • Severity of arthritis
  • Compliance with exercises pre and post-op

Let’s have a look at a typical knee replacement recovery time process.

How Long Will I Be In The Hospital After Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Surgery – Can I Use Heat?

The length of hospital stay after knee replacement will depend on:

  • Replacement and incision healing routinely.
  • Manageable pain levels.
  • The patient being able to perform bed mobility and walking without requiring someone else doing the majority of the work for them
  • Help at home from family or friends for activities that will require assistance such as driving, cooking, cleaning, moving in and out of bed, sitting down and standing up, walking, or using stairs

These are important for ensuring a patient is safe to go home. The majority of patients meet these requirements and will be out of the hospital within 1-3 days.

If a patient has delayed healing or limited support at home, they may be a candidate to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation hospital for 1-2 weeks for further recovery.

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Are There Any Reasons Why I Cant Have A Knee Replacement

Unfortunately, some people may not be able to have a knee replacement even though their arthritis is very bad. This may be because:

  • your thigh muscles are very weak and may not be able to support your new knee joint
  • there are deep or long-lasting open sores in the skin below your knee, increasing your risk of infection.

Total Knee Replacement Recovery: What To Expect After Knee Replacement

Nearly 1 million total knee replacement procedures are performed in the U.S. each year and that number is expected to continue rising exponentially to over 3 million in the next 15 years!

So it comes as no surprise that the most common joint replacement procedure Physical Therapists rehab in the outpatient clinic is a total knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement.

Many candidates want to know what to expect after a total knee replacement before they choose to have the surgery. Patients usually elect to have this procedure after nonoperative treatment options or knee replacement alternative surgeries fail to maintain knee function and pain levels.

For those patients that do decide to have total knee surgery, keep reading to learn more about the total knee replacement recovery process.

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