Specialist Orthopedic surgeon
Before the procedure: Diagnostic x-rays, aspiration of joint (to check for infection), blood tests to assess health, urine tests to be sure no infection exists; all appropriate dental work completed.
During the procedure: The easiest way to understand knee replacement is to compare it to capping a tooth. A saw is used to remove the damaged cartilage and a small amount of bone. The ends of the bones are then “capped” with metal alloy. A plastic liner is placed between them to allow a smooth gliding surface. The underside of the kneecap is also replaced with a plastic liner to allow smooth motion. In order to keep the metal in place, medical-quality cement, which works like grout, is applied between the metal and the bone. Arthroplasty is also done on the shoulder and other joints.
After the procedure: Physical therapy.
Hospitalization: 4 to 7 days
At home: 6-8 weeks
- While resting in bed, reduce the likelihood of clots by wearing compression stockings and moving frequently. Some surgeons will use a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin to lessen the risk of blood clots.
- Use crutches or a cane to walk until your doctor says otherwise.
- Stay within your safe range of motion.
- Bathe and shower as directed.
- Avoid strenuous activities.
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots
- Nerve or blood vessel injury during surgery
- Need for blood transfusion
Follow up with your doctor if:
Pain, swelling, redness, drainage or bleeding increases in the knee or there are symptoms suggesting infection such as fever.
- Prescription pain relievers
Last updated: 17-May-07