How should I prepare for surgery?
Start now. Take care of yourself. Preparing for knee replacement begins a few weeks before the actual surgery. The checklist below outlines some common tasks that your surgeon may ask you to complete in the weeks prior to your surgery date. Check with your surgeon to discuss your specific pre-surgery instructions and risks.
In the weeks ahead
- Exercise under your doctor’s supervision.
- Get a physical.
- Get a dental checkup.
- Stop smoking.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight.
Closer to the surgery
- Arrange a pre-surgery visit with your doctor.
- Get lab tests that the doctor orders.
- Complete health forms.
- Prepare and freeze some meals to make it easier when you get home.
- Choose and talk to a physical therapist to learn some important activities for after surgery.
- Decide whether you’ll go to a rehab or home after surgery.
- Talk to your surgeon’s team about if or when to stop your routine medications.
The night before
- Fast – nothing to eat or drink.
- Bathe the surgical area with the antiseptic solution provided to you.
Total knee replacement is intended for use in individuals with joint disease resulting from degenerative, rheumatoid and post-traumatic arthritis, and for moderate deformity of the knee.
Knee replacement surgery is not appropriate for patients with certain types of infections, any mental or neuromuscular disorder which would create an unacceptable risk of prosthesis instability, prosthesis fixation failure or complications in postoperative care, compromised bone stock, skeletal immaturity, severe instability of the knee, or excessive body weight.
As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery has serious risks which include, but are not limited to, pain, infection, bone fracture, peripheral neuropathies (nerve damage), circulatory compromise (including deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs)), genitourinary disorders (including kidney failure), gastrointestinal disorders (including paralytic ileus (loss of intestinal digestive movement)), vascular disorders (including thrombus (blood clots), blood loss, or changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm), bronchopulmonary disorders (including emboli, stroke or pneumonia), heart attack, and death.
Implant related risks which may lead to a revision include dislocation, loosening, fracture, nerve damage, heterotopic bone formation (abnormal bone growth in tissue), wear of the implant, metal and/or foreign body sensitivity, soft tissue imbalance, osteolysis (localized progressive bone loss), and reaction to particle debris. Knee implants may not provide the same feel or performance characteristics experienced with a normal healthy joint.
The information presented is for educational purposes only. Speak to your doctor to decide if joint replacement surgery is right for you. Individual results vary and not all patients will return to the same postoperative activity level. The lifetime of any joint replacement is limited and varies with each individual. Your doctor will counsel you about how to best maintain your activities in order to potentially prolong the lifetime of the device. Such strategies include not engaging in high-impact activities, such as running, as well as maintaining a healthy weight. It is important to closely follow your doctor’s instructions regarding post-surgery activity, treatment and follow-up care. Ask your doctor if the joint replacement is right for you.
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