Total Knee Replacement

Total Knee Arthroplasty

Planning Ahead Before Surgery:

  • A cold therapy unit helps with pain and swelling and is highly recommended for this surgery. You may borrow a unit from someone, rent one from the office, or purchase one. If you have one, please bring it with you to surgery and give it to the nurse when you get to your bed.
  • A new pad will be applied after your surgery is completed.
  • You will need a walker.

What to Expect:

  • You will spend from 3-5 days in the hospital, depending on your pain control and blood count.
  • A blood transfusion will lengthen your hospital stay. If you require a blood transfusion, Dr. Todd or your primary doctor will discuss this with you.
  • You will have an incision down the middle of your knee. It will be closed with staples.
  • You will have a reinfusion drain. This blood may be given to you through an IV. This drain will be pulled the day after surgery.
  • You may have some soreness and bruising on your upper thigh from the tourniquet. This should go away in a few days.
  • You will be given a pain pump to manage your pain immediately post-op.
  • You will be changed over to oral pain medications as soon as possible.
  • You will be given a prescription for pain medication when you leave the hospital.
    • The surgical dressing will be removed before you leave the hospital and will be replaced with an Island dressing. This dressing needs to be kept clean and dry until you return to our office for your follow up visit, which is usually 15-16 days after surgery. As long as the dressing is clean, dry and intact it does not need to be changed.
    • Take sponge baths until the staples are removed.
    • If you choose to have Home Health, the nurse may choose to change the dressing while you are under their care.
    • Please use your walker at all times, including when you come to the office for your first post-op appointment.
    • If your incision is well healed, all of the staples will be removed.
    • If your incision is not well healed, only half of the staples will be removed. You will need to return to the office in one week to have the remaining staples removed.
    • You will be able to take a normal shower 24 hours after all the staples have been removed.
    • Steri-strips will be placed on your incision line after the staples have been removed. You may remove them in 7-10 days if they have not come off on their own.
    • You will be using a walker and will be receiving physical therapy while you are in the hospital.
    • You can go to a Rehab facility for in-patient physical therapy or go home with Home Health after being discharged from the hospital.
    • Dr. Todd prefers that you not go to out-patient physical therapy until all of your staples are removed.
    • You will be wearing TED hose in the hospital and will continue wearing them for several weeks.
    • You will go home with a blood thinner, which is usually Lovenox.
    • Lovenox is a daily injection that is given in your abdomen. You and your family members will be instructed on how to give the injections while you are in the hospital. You will take them for approximately 2 weeks.
    • If you have a left total knee, you will be able to drive when you are no longer taking your narcotic pain medications and you can comfortably get in and out of the car.
    • If you have a right total knee, you will be able to drive when you are no longer taking your narcotic pain medication and when you can apply adequate pressure to the gas and break. This can take 4-6 weeks.
    • You will need to do formal physical therapy 3-5 days a week, but will also need to do your home exercises daily.
    • The average total recovery for a Total Knee Arthroplasty is 3-4 months.
    • You will progress from using a walker to a cane and then no assistive device.
    • The most important part of your surgery recovery is your participation in physical therapy!

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