Total knee replacement is one of the most successful surgical procedures of all time and can transform your life. But you may worry about what to expect during recovery from the procedure.
At Douglas J. Abeles MD & Associates in Castro Valley, California, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon is a joint replacement specialist. He uses the most advanced tools and techniques when performing knee surgery so you get the best possible results.
Here, we want to explain what you can expect after total knee replacement.
About total knee replacement
Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure we perform to treat chronic knee pain that makes it impossible for you to go about your normal routine. Arthritis is the most common cause of this type of pain and disability.
During the procedure, we replace the damaged components of your knee with prosthetic pieces. First, we remove the damaged cartilage from the tips of the femur (thighbone) and tibia (calf bone), and shave off a very small amount of bone.
Then, we position metal parts over the resurfaced bone, cement it in place, and put a spacer between the metal pieces to allow the parts to glide over each other.
When possible, we use minimally invasive surgical tools and techniques when performing total knee replacement to limit surgical damage, pain, and recovery time.
Initial recovery period
You may need to spend a few days at the hospital following your total knee replacement, but we send some patients home the same day. You can expect some pain, swelling, and bruising during this initial recovery period, but you should notice significant easing of the pain within days after your procedure.
We have you up and moving around with a physical therapist within hours of your procedure to help speed up the healing and recovery process.
Though we provide specific instructions regarding activity following knee replacement surgery, we do need you to participate in physical therapy once you go home. How quickly you recover from total knee replacement depends on how compliant you are with your exercise program and at-home care.
You may resume most of your usual activities about 3-6 weeks after surgery.
Life with your new knee
The goal of total knee replacement is to help you regain your independence. With your new knee, you can easily go up and down stairs, get in and out of a car, and engage in low-impact exercise routines like walking, swimming, and golfing.
Though kneeling may feel a little more awkward with your prosthetic knee, it’s OK to do. But we discourage high-impact physical activities that involve a lot of knee movement like jogging and skiing.
Most people continue to experience good outcomes from their prosthetic knee more than 15 years after their joint replacement surgery.
The few weeks of discomfort following total knee replacement is well worth the benefits of regaining your independence. Are you thinking about joint replacement surgery? Contact our office in Castro Valley, California, today to schedule an appointment.