Recuperation after knee replacement surgery
When the effect of the anesthetic (usually local anesthetic combined with fuzziness) wears off, and the muscles start to function normally again, you can begin using your new knee joint without any worries. You can get out of bed, with the help of a physical therapist, and begin the period of recuperation after knee joint replacement surgery.
In the first three days after the surgery, you will be in hospital. There, you will meet the team of doctors, nurses, physical therapist, social worker, and others.
The purpose of physical therapy in the initial stage after knee joint replacement surgery, is to reduce swelling and edema, to increase the range of movement, to strengthen the muscles in the limb, and to allow a speedy return to independently carrying out day to day functions.
The targets that we wish to reach, with your help:
- Getting out of bed by yourself
- Walking safely with means of support
- Going up and down stairs safely
- Bending and straightening the leg, with a sufficient range of movement for every day functioning
- The ability to do exercises independently
Dr. Bar Ziv does not recommend the CPM device for passive movement of the knee, after a first surgery, unless there is a severe restriction in the knee’s range of movement after repeat surgery, intolerable pain, severe swelling or inability to exercise for other reasons.
Prevention of blood clots
During your time in hospital, and also afterwards, you will need to take anti-coagulant medication, to prevent the development of blood clots in the veins of the legs. A blood clot which has been detached from the vein, and carried away by the flow of blood, might become attached to a vital organ, and cause life-threatening complications.
During your stay in hospital, you will receive an injection of Clexane 40 mg to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and on release from hospital, you will receive tablets to thin your blood for an additional month (until you return to almost normal activity).
Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be: pain in the shin, redness and swelling that are not relieved by raising the leg for a few hours. In any event of the appearance of these symptoms, you should consult Dr. Bar Ziv or the team on the ward.
Discharge from the wound
A discharge from the wound can be part of the normal recuperation process after surgery. If there is a large quantity of discharge, which necessitates the dressing being changed more than twice per day, you should consult Dr. Bar Ziv or the team on the ward.
Balance of pain
After the surgery, and the wearing off of the anesthesia, you will receive additional pain-killers according to your level of pain. The medical team will use a pain scale in order to evaluate your level of pain, and to balance it. It is important that you receive the medication on time, so that you can be active, and free of pain. It is desirable that should receive medication against pain, by mouth or intra-venously, approximately an hour before physical therapy treatment.
After you have been released home
You will be released from hospital two to three days after the surgery. On the day of your release, you will be able to walk at least 30 meters with means of support, to bend and straighten the knee to a sufficient extent to enable walking, sitting on a chair, and going up and down stairs.
In your first days after the surgery, and until a physical therapist visits you at home, make sure that you do, by yourself, the exercises that you learnt in hospital, a few times a day.
Balancing the pain at home, will be conducted according to clear, written instructions from Dr. Bar Ziv and his office staff. We shall keep in constant contact, and will guide you through the period of recuperation at home, or a rehabilitation institute, after your release.
We, Dr. Bar Ziv and his office staff, will be available, and at your disposal, for any question or problem that may arise!