If you or a loved one are planning to have a knee replacement surgery, there are some things to do before knee replacement surgery, as well as after knee replacement surgery, to aid in a quick recovery, better pain management and improved mobility.
What Does Really Work?
Like anything in life, proper preparation guarantees the best outcome and for knee replacement proper preparation is the difference between recovering in days, or spending months in painful after surgery follow ups and corrective procedures.
Here are five things you can do to get the best results when it comes to knee surgery:
1. Check Out the Surgeon!
All orthopedic surgeons are not created equal. Choose an orthopedic surgeon with a proven record in knee replacement surgery.
If you Google “orthopedic surgeon rating”, you will find very many opportunities to check on how orthopedic surgeons in your area of the world are rated against their peers.
After you are referred by your Primary Care Physician(PCP) to a surgeon, my advice is that you run their name through Google and you will find yourself much more informed about the surgeon.
Remember your PCP might be referring you to a friend or a colleague, with whom he or she has had a long standing relationship, which could affect their judgement. Even if their recommendation is on point, validating their referral will put you at ease about the surgery.
2. Ask Questions!
Once you settle on a surgeon, set an appointment for initial assessment. While the job of the surgeon is to review your medical condition and asses your medical needs, your focus should be on interviewing them.
Remember you are hiring them and not the other way around, so don’t be intimidated, and prepare a list of questions to ask.
It’s important that you engage the surgeon and have at least a pre-written 10-15 questions that you need answers for.
If you are a smoker for example or a diabetic, ask them what extra steps or precautions you need to be aware of, to guarantee the best outcome.
Giving them your past medical history, is not enough, so make sure you get your questions answered by the surgeon, in person and verbatim.
3. Exercise is King! I mean that!
Now that you have chosen the right surgeon for the job, you need to comply fully with their orders. One of those orders will be a list of pre-surgery exercises you will need to follow, on a daily basis prior to the surgery.
These exercises are essential to your recovery as they can help strengthen your knee, improve flexibility, and help you recover faster.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to follow these exercises, to have the best outcomes.
4. Tweak your home for (surgery) success!
To make your home safer and easier to navigate during recovery, Mayo Clinic recommends that you consider making the following improvements to your home prior to going in for the surgery:
• Create a total living space on one floor since climbing stairs can be difficult.
• Install safety bars or a secure handrail in your shower or bath.
• Secure stairway handrails.
• Get a stable chair with a firm seat cushion and back, and a footstool to elevate your leg.
• Arrange for a toilet-seat riser with arms if you have a low toilet.
• Try a stable bench or chair for your shower.
• Remove loose rugs and cords.
5. Accept and Avoid Rule!
Accept Physical Therapy!
Depending on your medical condition, the surgeon will recommend either home health therapy after the surgery, outpatient therapy or both (usually in succession).
Again do your homework and chose your providers based on their past performance. Once again you are hiring so choose wisely.
As with choosing your surgeon Goggle again is a great tool that you can use to rate a home care agency or outpatient physical therapist based on their health care outcomes, as well as their patient satisfaction rating.
Finally let’s address the 800-pound Gorilla in the room! Knee Infection!
Nothing hampers your recovery like a nasty infection. In knee replacement, they are very easy to avoid, yet they are the number one reason why rather a smooth ride to recovery town, becomes very bumpy all of a sudden.
To avoid post-surgery infections, include an infection plan in your pre-surgery planning. Infections after a knee replacement are not common, but are nightmarish when they occur so avoid them at all cost.
Make sure one of the questions you ask your surgeon during the interview is, ” What systems do you have in place to make sure I don’t get knee infection after the surgery?”
Any good surgeon will walk you through their infection control plan which should include: pre, during and post-surgery plans.
There are a number of prominent orthopedic surgeons who have videos on YouTube regarding knee replacement, if anyone want to research further.
Does anyone have comments or observations to add?
10 thoughts on “Things To Do Before Knee Replacement Surgery”
Well! This is coming as both a shock and also news to me that I did not know such a thing as knee replacement existed virtually some minute ago. However, your expertise on the topic has widened my knowledge and has created an interest for me to try out new things. Thanks
Thanks for your comments Rodarrick.
Thanks for this post on the things to do before having a knee replacement surgery, in some years back I was having pains in my knees due to some accidents that occurred in my working place, went to see the doctor and he told me I was gonna have knee surgery, which I thought it was the normal thing for me he said i should have some exercise before the surgery and I failed to do so because I thought i will feel a lot of pains in doing so , but later it really affected me when the surgery was carried out thanks
Thanks for your timely contribution here Rose.
Thanks for this post on the things to do before having knee replacement surgery, when I was a kid we were playing and I broke my knee during the cause, I was told they gonna perform a surgery on it I was so scared, then I had no choice than to meet up with the surgeon and ask him some few questions which he answered them and put me through what am gonna do, and trust me choosing a good surgeon is one of thr first thing that needs to be done when you wanna have a surgery, thanks
Thank you for sharing your experience Gracie Yes, selecting the right surgeon is so important and also not difficult in this day and age either.
I don’t know much about knee replacement surgery but I am really impressed at your guidance on things to do before knee replacement surgery. You just made the process and preparation towards it easy and smooth through this post. I love especially the point you gave that one should ask the knee surgeon some questions and you even gave an idea of the question that can be asked. You’ve done a great job with this piece.
Thank you for your kind remarks and observations. Our hope in posting these articles is that they can make some people’s lives less challenging.
Hi Roland, thank you for sharing this tips. I must confess that I learnt a lot plus I had no idea that knees can be replaced initially. And right now, I was wondering why knee replacement surgeries are done. I don’t know if you can throw more light on why it should be done…
Best regards sir.
You ask a good question about why knee replacement surgery should be required at all. My understanding is that there could be several reasons but probably the most common one is that if the cartilage between the thigh bone and the shin bone deteriorates or is lost because of overuse, age or accident that the whole knee may need to be replaced.
I personally know people who could no longer walk at all and had to crawl in order to move from place to place, poor souls.