Knee replacements have become routine procedures that can offer relief to those who suffer from arthritis or other forms of joint degeneration in the knee. Whether you have an old injury that didn’t heal thoroughly, or you just suffer from a progressively worsening case of runners’ knee, joint replacement offers an effective way to improve function and reduce pain. Knee replacements are now commonly performed for younger patients because of the success of the procedures and impact they can make on the mobility and quality of life enjoyed by patients.
While your doctor may have discussed the option of knee joint replacement with you, you may still have questions about what you can expect once the surgery is complete. In the past, joint replacements of any kind involved a long road of rehab and recovery, but the duration of that period has been shortened thanks to advances in technology, tactics, and therapy. Keep reading below to learn what you can expect following knee joint replacement in Atlanta.
First 24 Hours
Once the surgery has been performed, the patient remains in the hospital as the general anesthesia wears off and feeling begins to return to the extremities. Pain medication and other methods of pain relief are used pre-emptively to keep the pain level at a minimum. The first 24 hours following surgery is usually a period of rest and recuperation, and throughout that time pain levels are monitored closely.
After the first 24 hours, the patient may be asked to stand and place limited weight on the knee if pain is under control. The weight may be supported with a walker, and a therapist is generally present to provide additional support and guidance. This is an important step as patients who are able to put weight on the joint shortly after surgery will experience a shortened recovery period in most cases. During this time, your physician may also prescribe the use of a Continuous Passive Motion machine, a device that slowly moves the joint for about eight hours per day to improve range of motion.
Depending on the type of joint replacement and the progress in recovery, you will leave the hospital after three to five days. Discharge is determined based on your ability to accomplish several movements and tasks, including bending the knee 80 to 90 degrees, ability to get in and out of bed, and ability to walk 100 feet or more. Specific criteria may vary from one hospital to another.
For many patients, after discharge there comes a short stay in a rehabilitation facility. Such facilities can provide intensive physical and occupational therapy as well as health care and monitoring of the joint. Patients who don’t go directly to a rehab facility may simply return home and receive therapy from in-home care professionals.
If you’re considering knee joint replacement in Atlanta, it’s wise to understand what will happen once the procedure is over. Post-surgical care and therapy can play an important part in a successful outcome.