Total Knee Replacement Surgery: What to Expect and When Will Can You Return to Work?

Total Knee Replacement Surgery: What to Expect and When Will Can You Return to Work?

Knee replacement surgery is common. In fact, it is one of the most common bone surgeries that is done in the country. Deciding if a patient needs the surgery is something the patient and their orthopedic surgeon need to figure out together. It’s estimated that over 90% of individuals who have undergone this procedure have seen a significant improvement and mobility and reduced pain.

After knee replacement surgery, Knee Replacement Rehabilitation is generally needed. Keep reading to learn more about this surgical procedure and the recovery period.

Getting Ready for Surgery

Before surgery, a surgeon will learn a person’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. The doctor may take X-rays or an MRI to see how damaged the interior of the knee is. Doctors will also look at how strong the muscle support around the knee is and how well the person can move the knee joint.

Like with any surgeries, tell the doctor about medications being taken, including aspirin, blood thinners, and more. Doctors also need to know if there is a history of any blood clots, bleeding, or infections. Most people should not eat for a minimum of eight hours before the procedure.

What to Expect During Surgery?

Knee replacement surgery is more advanced today than ever before. For healthy individuals, it can be done as an outpatient procedure. If done in the hospital, a person will likely remain there for one to four days. Right before surgery, an IV is used to give a patient medicine and fluids. The skin where the incision will be made is shaved, as well.

A person may receive general anesthesia to put them in a deep sleep during surgery. Another option is spinal anesthesia, which is going to numb a person below the waist, but they will remain awake. General anesthesia will be used for most people.

The actual surgery usually takes one to two hours. There are a few ways the doctor may do this. They could make an eight- to ten-inch cut at the front of the knee to remove the damaged joint and surfaces of the shin and thigh bone next to the joint. After that is done, the artificial knee is put in place.

The other surgical option is minimally invasive. This is when the surgeon makes a shorter cut, about four to six inches. This causes much less damage to the tendons and muscles. If a patient is healthy, young, and thin, they are a good candidate for this option.

After Surgery and Recovery

After knee replacement surgery, an individual should be back on their feet within a day. While this may be hard at first, using a cane, walker, or crutches can help.

Most people experience a significant improvement in flexibility and reduced pain within a month after the procedure. It is essential that they exercise the knee regularly to minimize swelling and strengthen the muscles.

Sometimes, an individual will receive help from a physical therapist, too. During these therapeutic appointments, the therapist will take patients through a series of exercises to help strengthen the knee that has been repaired. How long physical therapy is needed depends on a person’s health and how motivated they are to recover after surgery.

Christie Lewis
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