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Knee Replacement Surgery for Arthritis

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How Long Will I Need Physical Therapy After Knee Replacement?

After knee replacement surgery, you are usually sent home or to a rehabilitation facility, depending on your condition at that time. If you are sent to a facility, the average rehabilitation stay is approximately seven to ten days. If you are sent directly home from the hospital, your doctor will usually have a physical therapist come to treat you at home. Your doctor also may have you go to an outpatient physical therapy facility as the final stage of the rehabilitation process. Outpatient therapy may last from one to two months, depending on your progress.

Remember, every person is different and the course of rehabilitation will be determined on an individual basis with the assistance of your doctor and physical therapist.

What Precautions Should I Take After Knee Replacement Surgery?

After knee replacement surgery, you should not pivot or twist on the involved leg for at least six weeks. Also during this time, when lying in bed, you should keep the involved knee as straight as possible. Kneeling and squatting also should be avoided soon after knee joint replacement surgery.

Your physical therapist will provide you with techniques and adaptive equipment that will help you follow guidelines and precautions while performing daily activities. Remember, not following the given precautions could result in the dislocation of your newly replaced joint.

How Can I Manage at Home During Recovery?

The following tips should make your recovery at home easier.

  • Stair climbing should be kept to a minimum. Make the necessary arrangements so that you will only have to go up and down the steps once or twice a day.
  • A firm, straight-back chair is extremely helpful in adhering to these joint precautions. Recliners should not be used.
  • To help avoid falls, all throw rugs should be removed from the floor and rooms should be kept free of unnecessary debris.
  • Enthusiastic pets should be kept far away until you have healed.

You should ask your doctor before returning to such activities as driving, sexual activity, and exercise.

Is Knee Replacement Surgery Safe?

Knee joint replacements have been performed for years and surgical techniques are being improved all the time. As with all surgeries, however, there are risks. Since you will not be able to move around much at first, blood clots are a particular concern. Your doctor will give you blood thinners to help prevent this.

Infection and bleeding also are possible, as are the risks associated with using general anesthesia. Other less common concerns that you and your doctor must watch out for include the following:

  • Pieces of fat in the bone marrow may become loose, enter the bloodstream and get into the lungs, which can cause very serious breathing problems.
  • Nerves in the knee area may be injured from swelling or pressure and can cause some numbness.
  • Other bones may be broken during the surgery, which may require a longer hospital stay.
  • The replacement parts may become loose or break.

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