Total Knee Replacement
After the Operation
Immediately after the operation
You will wake up in the recovery area after the operation is completed. You may not be able to feel or move your leg for the next few hours due to the anesthetic you have just had. You may need to have some painkillers after the anesthetic wears off, as the knee will be sore following the operation.
A brace may be placed on your knee to keep it straight on the day of your operation or overnight if you are operated on in the afternoon.
You will have a blood test to check your blood levels and an X-ray to check the knee replacement is sitting correctly.
The wound will be checked and you will be given painkillers to manage the pain after the operation.
The physiotherapist will come to see you and give you simple exercises to start your recovery from the operation. They will help you to sit up and may get bending your knee from day one.
During your hospital stay
Whilst in hospital you will be monitored to ensure there are no complications from your operation and that you are medically stable. Most people walk with assistance on day 1 - 2 after their operation.
You will continue to see the physiotherapist on a daily basis who will prescribe exercises and help you to get back on your feet and walking. Often after the operation you may need a frame to walk with in the early phases of recovery and you will probably go home with crutches.
Whilst in hospital you will also be seen by the occupational therapist. They will help you to make sure that you will be safe at home with doing all the simple things that are often more difficult after an operation like showering, getting out of bed and moving around in the house.
The physiotherapist, occupational therapist and your doctors will discuss with you whether you can go straight home after your hospital stay or whether you need to have some time with the rehabilitation team in the hospital. The rehabilitation team will help people who are slow to recover. They will build up your strength and improve your walking before returning to home.
Most people that are fit and well before their operation only stay in hospital for 4-5 days after their operation. If you have several other medical problems or you are slow to recover, your hospital stay may be longer. You will need to stay in hospital until you are able to walk safely, often with crutches and your pain is well controlled.