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Common questions about knee replacement recovery

When it comes to feeling prepared for your upcoming knee replacement surgery, you can never ask too many questions. In fact, I would always rather have patients who feel excited and knowledgeable about their procedure than ones who are too afraid speak up about concerns. What individuals wonder and worry about varies from person to person, but there are often some common themes among my New York patients. Here are a few examples of what they wonder, along with some brief and general answers. Of course, it’s always better that we discuss an upcoming surgery in person, and we can address any lingering questions during the pre-surgery consultation.

How bad will it hurt?

Pain is an understandable worry when it comes to surgery. After all, we are opening up your body and significantly altering the mechanics of your current knee. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that advances in technology have significantly improved procedures, and today’s surgical incisions are typically smaller and quicker to heal than those in the past. Still, pain is to be expected as your body adjusts to your new joint. To keep things from getting too out of hand, it’s important that you stick to your physical therapy routine to help strengthen your body. As you recover, you can also use medications to help cope. Today there is a lot of concerns surrounding the use of opioids as a pain reliever. If you are bothered about using these drugs, we can find alternative options to help you rest and move easily.

How should a patient prep?

There are several things you can do in advance of your surgery to make recovery that much smoother. In the months leading up to your procedure, it’s helpful to switch your mindset over to include regular exercise. This can help you lose a few extra pounds to take weight off of your future joint and also prepare you for the therapy that comes with post-operative care. Many individuals also find it helpful to get their ducks in a row at home before going in for a knee replacement. This might include making meals ahead of time or stocking up on groceries and basic toiletries so that you don’t have to worry about trips to the store. Since you will have reduced mobility in the days following your surgery, it might also be helpful to install supportive railings in your bathroom and bedroom to help you navigate your home easier. You should also take some time to plan out your post-procedure transportation, whether that means hiring a driver or asking a loved one to step in as a temporary chauffeur. The less you have to think about after your surgery, the more relaxed you can be and the more you can focus on healing.

How long will it take?

Many patients also wonder how long the recovery process will be. I wish I had the perfect answer or even a magic ball to predict the future. Unfortunately, the answer is different for everyone and depends on an individual’s overall health, the surgical method that is employed, how your body responds to the surgery, and how well you stick to your therapy. You can take comfort in the fact that the majority of my patients are back to their normal routines and even doing things they couldn’t do before within weeks to months of their surgery.

Joint replacements come with lots of questions, both big and small. As you start the joint replacement journey, don’t be afraid to reach out for help and clarification along the way.

Posted in: Knee Replacement

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