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Post-operative Expectations and Precautions

Do I need someone to stay full-time with me when I go home?

Upon discharge from the Surgery Center it is required that a responsible person be with you for a minimum of 24 hours – with 72 more desirable.

Will I need pain medicine after I discharged?

Most patients do benefit from a short-term course of pain medication. Expect to take some kind of pain medication for several weeks after discharged - especially at night or before therapy sessions. You can call your doctor's office for prescription renewals.

What can I expect in the first days after I'm discharged?

You shouldn't be surprised if you feel a little shaky and uncertain for the first day or two after you're discharged. But soon you may get a routine going and gain confidence in your new joint - the start of a new life with less pain. (As with any surgery, you'll probably take pain medication for a few days while you are healing.) Be aware that you'll probably need a walker and/or crutches for about six weeks, then use a cane for another six weeks or so. You'll be in touch with your doctor or orthopaedic specialist as well as your case manager, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions or discuss concerns as well as to report your progress.

How long will I need to use my walker or crutches?

Your orthopaedic surgeon will work with your physical therapist to develop your specific ambulation plan. Generally, patients use a walker or crutches for the first six weeks after surgery. Then, they can graduate to a cane for about six weeks before walking on their own.

When can I go outside?

You may go outside at any time. Start with short trips at first - therapy, church - and increase the number and length of outside activities, as you feel more comfortable.

When can I resume sports activities or working out?

Discuss your activity level and abilities with your surgeon.

When will I be able to go back to a normal daily routine, such as going to work or driving a car?

This is a decision that only you and your doctor or orthopaedic specialist can make. Be sure to follow your doctor's or orthopaedic surgeon's advice. This is a decision that only you and your doctor or orthopaedic specialist can make. Be sure to follow your doctor's or orthopaedic surgeon's advice and recommendations. Individual results may vary.

Will I notice anything different about my knee?

You may have a small area of numbness on the outside of the scar for a year or more. Kneeling may be uncomfortable for a year or so, and you may notice clicking when you move your knee.

How long does a knee replacement last?

As successful as most of these procedures are, over the years the artificial joint can become loose or wear out, requiring a revision (repeat) surgery. How long it will last depends not only on a person's age, but also on a patient's activity level. These issues - together with the fact that increasing numbers of younger and more active people are receiving total joint replacement - have challenged the orthopaedic industry to try to extend the life cycle of total joint replacements.

Will the operation hurt?

Many patients only experience mild discomfort in the days and weeks following joint-replacement. However, after years of living with joint pain, for most it is a welcome relief. As with any surgery, individual patient results and experiences vary. Make sure to talk with your doctor before surgery about your pain management options. You may receive pain medicine through your IV, through the epidural or in shots or pills. Most likely, you will be mobile within hours of surgery.

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