What are the risks with knee replacement surgery?
While most knee surgeries are free of complications, risks include blood clots,
excessive bleeding, urinary tract infections, damage to bones, nerves or blood
vessels, and a weakened or stiff knee. Carefully following your doctor's care
instructions can help you avoid or minimize these risks.
How long does knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty) last?
It usually takes about 2 hours, depending on the specific procedure.
Will my new knee enable me to do much more than before?
You should be able to move your knee freely and painlessly, allowing you to
engage in a full range of daily activities. The increased range of motion
may even allow you to participate in low contact sports!
How long do I have to follow the total knee precautions?
Usually about 3 months, but always consult your surgeon before you stop observing
the precautions. Your daily routine should still incorporate basic precautions
such as not crossing your legs.
How long do I wear the white (TED) stockings?
This varies by doctor and individual recovery times. Generally speaking, the
stockings should be worn during the day, but can be removed at night. If there
is no swelling after 2-3 weeks, usually their use can be discontinued, although
some doctors may have you wear them up to 6 weeks. You'll receive instructions
about your doctor's preferences before leaving the hospital.
When can I drive?
This also varies by doctor and also depends on the type of surgery performed.
Usually, you'll be able to drive within 4-6 weeks - your doctor will let you
know when it's safe.
When can I swim?
Most doctors agree that you should wait 6 weeks before beginning active swimming.
However, walking in water is great rehabilitative exercise.
How long will I be off of work?
It depends on the type of work that you do. If you have a sedentary job, you
can usually return once you feel strong enough. If your job requires you to
be on your feet for extended periods of time, though, you may be off as long
as 6-8 weeks. Your doctor will also advise you of any restrictions to follow
once returning to work.
How long after my surgery will I need to have an antibiotic prior
to dental work?
For the rest of your life. It's also recommended that you have any pending
dental work completed prior to surgery, if possible, or no sooner than 10
weeks after your knee replacement. Taking antibiotics prior to dental work
decreases the risk of bacteria entering your bloodstream and traveling to
When do I start physical therapy?
It varies by case and doctor. Ask your surgeon his preference.
When can I take a shower?
You may shower after your surgery. Leave the dressing in place while showering.
Afterward, remove the dressing, dry completely, clean thoroughly with peroxide
and apply a clean dressing. Do not take a bath or get in a hot tub until your
staples have been removed and your incision is completely healed.