Knee replacement surgery is a major procedure, but it’s what happens after your surgery that is crucial to its success. A lot depends on how well you follow the recovery and rehabilitation plan laid out by your doctors – including how soon you can leave the hospital and how quickly you regain knee strength and range of motion – so you can resume your normal lifestyle and avoid future complications.
Here’s what you can expect in the hours and days following your knee surgery, and what you can do to make it as effective as possible. …
Recovering from Knee Surgery
Shortly after knee replacement surgery, you’ll awake from the anesthesia and start to regain feeling in your legs. However, your doctor will have provided a combination of pain-relief methods to minimize your discomfort and any side effects of the surgery.
If your post-op pain is under control, you’ll be asked to stand up, bear some weight on your new knee, and take several steps with the help of a walker and a physical therapist. Or, your doctor may prescribe the use of a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine following surgery.
The CPM machine slowly moves your affected leg, causing it to bend and straighten repeatedly while you lie on your back. This is done because it has been shown to help patients regain their range of motion more quickly and leave the hospital sooner.
How Soon Can I Leave the Hospital After Knee Surgery?
Once you are able to bend your knee 90 degrees and get out of bed and walk short distances with the help of a walker or crutches, you can be discharged from the hospital. Typically, this takes one to five days.
You may have to stay in the hospital longer if you have both knees replaced at the same time, if you have certain pre-existing medical conditions, or if you are experiencing general weakness or uncontrolled pain.
Before you leave the hospital, your doctor will provide you with weight-bearing guidelines that you should follow at home. The amount of pressure your new knee can support will depend on the type of surgery that was performed (total or partial knee replacement), the condition of your natural bone, and the kind of prosthesis that was implanted – and how it was attached to your natural bone.
How Long Does Recovery Take After Joint Replacement?
Most knee-replacement patients are able to take care of themselves and resume most of their normal activities within six weeks of surgery, though it can take others six months or longer to be fully recovered. Those who have done knee-strengthening exercises prior to surgery sometimes recover more quickly, while others – notably, those who are older, smoke, or have certain medical conditions – may take a bit longer to heal.
As you recover, you’ll be instructed on how much additional weight you can gradually place on the new knee. If you face certain rehabilitation challenges – such as living in a home with stairs or not having a live-in caregiver who can help you if needed – you may be discharged to a short-term care facility that provides physical and occupational therapy.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Michigan
If you are suffering from any type of joint pain, you may benefit from a variety of approaches and types of physical therapy. Call the specialists at Movement Orthopedics at (586) 436-3785 for more information about our comprehensive treatments and services, or to schedule a consultation.
You can also fill out our appointment request form right now. We look forward to helping you get back to the active lifestyle you’ve always enjoyed.