Many patients go home 3-4 days after their surgery. You and your surgeon will decide what is best for you. Usually, you will be discharged if:
1. You know the signs of surgical complications:
- Increasing pain in your new knee.
- Persistent and/or increasing pain or swelling in your calf or leg.
- Excessive redness, heat or drainage at your surgery site.
- Fever of 101°F or higher.
2. You know all the medications you are taking, their purpose and possible side effects
3. Your physical and occupational therapists have confirmed that you can perform daily activities and exercises:
- Get in and out of bed by yourself.
- Walk on your own at least 50 feet with your walking device.
- Bathe and dress yourself using special tools without help.
- Use the toilet or commode without help.
- Stand for 10 minutes at a counter or sink to do simple tasks by yourself.
- Be able to get in and out of the bathtub or shower safely and correctly based on your home bathtub/shower.
- Climb up and down 12 stairs with help standing by (if you have stairs at home).
- Be able to do your home exercise program as instructed by your therapist.
Following are some post-surgery tips that will help prepare you for what to expect when you return home after your knee replacement surgery.
Caring for Your Knee When in Bed
- Pump your ankles up and down 10 times every 2 hours to maintain good blood flow (circulation) to your lower legs.
- Do not lie in bed with a pillow under your knee. This will interfere with regaining full knee mobility.
Caring for Your Knee During the Day
- Avoid sitting and/or standing for long periods (no more than 30 minutes in one place). Changing position frequently will increase blood flow, decrease joint stiffness, and decrease post-operative leg swelling.
- To decrease pain, inflammation and swelling, ice can be placed on your knee for 15 – 20 minutes every hour or as tolerated.
- Follow your home exercises program given to you by the hospital physical therapist.
Caring for Your Knee at Home
Ask your doctor when:
- You can take a shower.
- You may start to drive and return to work.
- Your staples will be removed, if you have staples.
Beginning your home exercise program:
An important part of your recovery is following a home exercise program. When muscles are not used, they become weak and do not work as well in supporting and moving the body. Surgery can correct the knee problem, but the muscles will remain weak unless you strengthen them with regular exercise. To start the home exercise program, your therapist will teach you how to perform these exercises. Do your home exercise program as prescribed by your physical therapist.
Caring for Your Surgical Incision
- Keep your incision clean and dry until all the staples or stitches are removed.
- If you have staples or stitches, they will be taken out about 10 – 14 days after your surgery. Your doctor, a nurse or therapist will remove the staples or stitches.
- Do not apply cream or ointment to the staples or stitches unless instructed to do so by your surgeon.
When you are at home, be sure to exercise your new knee as shown by your therapists.
The tips provided were written to help you make the transition home after your knee replacement surgery and were provided by CPMC.org.
Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).Sharing is Caring!