If you and your orthopaedic surgeon have decided that the time has come for knee replacement surgery, you’re probably wondering what to expect. Here’s what you need to know about what happens before, during, and after your knee surgery.
There may be some prep work to do first. Your doctor may recommend exercises including stretching and strength training, so your body will be ready to rehabilitate your new joint. You may also try to lose some weight before your surgery, to make the process safer for you and decrease the amount of weight your new joint must bear.
Your surgeon will complete a thorough preoperative evaluation, including making sure they have your complete medical history, a functional assessment, results of diagnostic testing, anesthesia planning, a pain management plan, and post-surgical care coordination.
There are several different ways your doctor may conduct your knee replacement. You might be a candidate for knee replacement using the CORI◊ robotics-assisted surgical system, which allows your knee to be accurately replicated and guides the surgeon through placement of your implant, so the result is as close to your original joint structure as possible.
Depending on the complexity of the surgery, your doctor may opt for a spinal block that numbs you from the waist down, or put you under general anesthesia. When the surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to recovery, and soon rehabilitation will begin. If possible, many surgeons try to get you up on your feet the first day, as movement speeds recovery. You’ll typically be discharged only a day or two after your surgery if everything goes well.
You’ll need someone to stay with you for a few days after your surgery to help you get around and make sure you don’t fall. Your doctor will give you a complete post-surgical recovery plan, including exercises. You’ll have regular follow-up visits to ensure your mobility and flexibility are returning on schedule.
Your doctor will work with you to manage your pain. You might be a candidate for iovera°, a cryotherapy treatment which “freezes” away pain. This injection can be given before you go into surgery, and deadens the nerves around your knee that send pain signals to the brain. It takes several weeks for the nerves to grow back, at which point the worst of your discomfort due to the surgery will be over.
Want to know more about your options for knee surgery? Contact Syracuse Area Health – Strasburger Orthopaedics to make an appointment today.
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