Recommendations after Knee Replacement Surgery

Here are some recommendations to follow after knee replacement surgery

The following tips are for guidance only. Only the surgeon who performed the surgery can provide you with specific individual precise post-operative recommendations, after assessing the condition of your health, complexity of the surgery, and other relevant factors.

Do not worry if you experience:

  • Numbness on the side of the incision in your knee joint. This is a normal post-operative phenomenon that diminishes with time, but persists in a certain area.
  • When bending your knee, you will feel a creaking sensation in the front part of your knee. It decreases in size over the course of 1 year, but does not disappear completely compared to a healthy joint. This sensation is caused by the kneecap coming into contact with the metal implant during movement. For this reason, it is recommended to avoid kneeling on the operated knee.

 Urgent medical advice is needed:

  • When you feel signs of a possible infection: non-healing of the wound: secretion, wetting, opening of the healed wound with secretion, new-onset pain in the operated joint, pain at rest, general fever, chills.

Contact the emergency department immediately:

  • When feeling the signs of possible thromboembolism: sudden and new-onset shortness of breath, chest pain, chest pain with coughing, marked swelling of the whole leg, shin, redness not related to the incision, pain in the entire length of your leg.

 

1) Rehabilitation. The rehabilitation period in the clinic and the continued exercises prescribed by the physiotherapist at home are essential for recovery. The active rehabilitation period at Gijos Klinikos usually lasts 18 days (a minimum of 10 days). Initial recovery after knee replacement surgery takes up to 3 months, and final recovery up to 1 year.

2) Home remedies and aids. A physiotherapist of Gijos Klinikos will follow up with you during the rehabilitation period and advise you on useful aids. You may need: exercise-massage equipment, crutches, knee brace, etc. The aids are available at the local Sveikatinė specialised medical supply store.

3) Wound care. Wound dressings are performed in the clinic. Do not touch the surgical wound yourself, and notify the medical staff if the dressing comes off. The sutures/hooks are removed usually 14 days after surgery or later. You can take a shower with keeping the incision site protected with a special waterproof patch. Patients living abroad should contact their GP for suture removal.

4) Swelling. After surgery, you may experience mild to moderate swelling of the lower leg or even the whole leg, which can last up to half a year. To reduce swelling, keep the leg elevated, and apply cold applications (a bag of ice wrapped in a thin towel) at home.

5) Stepping on the operated leg. Usually, placing your full weight on your body including when walking is acceptable immediately after the surgery, but sometimes, due to certain features of the implant or the surgery, putting full weight on your body when walking is not be recommended until several weeks or months have passed – the best course of action will be determined by the surgeon who performed the surgery and will be advised by your surgeon.

6) Sleeping. You can sleep in any position as long as it does not cause pain or discomfort.

7) Driving. It is up to the patient to assess when they are ready to drive. You should pay attention to your general well-being, the degree of recovery of your muscles and reflexes, the strength of your leg, etc. The patient is usually able to drive 1 month after the surgery.

8) The time when you can return to work varies for each patient, as it depends upon the nature of the work, the complexity of the surgery, the type of surgery performed, the course of rehabilitation, and other related factors. In most cases, with a successful healing, the patient can return to work that is sedentary after 1 – 1.5 months. You can return to more physically demanding work after about 2 to 3 months or more.

9) Nutrition. After the surgery, a complete balanced diet and sufficient water intake are important. Avoid fast foods. During the healing process, try to consume freshly cooked food made from unprocessed products. The surgeon may also prescribe iron supplements or other vitamins.

10) Harmful habits. Avoid alcoholic beverages as they impair healing and increase the risk of falling (injury). Do not smoke for at least 1 month after the surgery. Smoking will have a very strong negative impact on the healing process.

11) Dental repair. Inform your dentist before having your teeth repaired that you have an implanted joint. Preventive use of antibiotics is recommended during certain dental procedures.

12) Last day at the clinic. Before leaving the clinic, you will be prepared with waterproof bandages, painkillers and the other medicines and supplies you will need, which you can use at home at the specified time. You will also be given a certificate of implant, a statement from your surgeon, and x-rays of your knee BEFORE and AFTER the surgery.

13) You will need to have a follow-up visit with the surgeon who operated on you 3 months after the surgery. For patients living abroad, remote video consultation is available.

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