Total knee replacement

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the operation

  1. Will I need to have someone to help at home and do I need to sort anything out before coming into hospital?

Many patients find it helpful to have someone close by in the first few days however this is not essential providing you have planned ahead e.g. food in the freezer, clean bedding, frozen peas. (To use as an ice pack)

  1. Do I need to attend the pre-op knee group?

We highly recommend that you do attend the pre-op knee group- not only will you be given more information about your hospital stay but you will also be given some exercises to start before your operation.

After the operation 

  1. I didn’t realise it was going to be this painful

Each individual is different you can expect to have a certain level of pain immediately after the operation you will be given pain killers to help with this. The aim will be for you to be able to do your exercises without too much discomfort.

  1. Surely it is not good to move my knee if it is painful

Despite your knee being painful it is important to keep your knee moving and prevent it from getting stiff.

  1. I did not think  I would manage the stairs

Most people manage to get up and down the stairs after the operation using a walking aid. If you where unable to manage the stairs prior to the operation then this may still be the case.

  1. Will I not burst my stitches if I bend my knee too far?

You will not burst your stitches if you bend the knee however you may find you experience some oozing. This is nothing to be worried about and very common. Normally the nursing staff will add a further bandage.

  1. Should I move my knee if it is oozing?

Yes it is important to keep your knee moving so it does not get stiff.

  1. Why I am feeling dizzy and nauseas after my operation

Lots of people can feel dizzy or/and nauseas after there operation. This is normally as a result of the anaesthetic, low blood levels or a reaction to medication. This normally resolves in 24hrs and does not prevent you from doing your exercises.

  1. I am not going to drink lots because I cant walk to the toilet

It is important for you too drink after the operation to replace any fluid you have lost. Even if you can’t manage to walk to the toilet we have alternative means of helping you so please don’t avoid drinking

  1. When can I start my warfarin again?

This will be restarted by your doctor the day after the operation

  1. Why is my relatives dementia worse than before the operation

As a result of anaesthetic and a new environment these problems can be exacerbated. Often people may be more confused than normal however we would expect this to settle with time and once they are back in their familiar environment.

  1. I did not realise I would be getting up to walk the day off/day after my operation

We aim to get everybody out of bed either the day of or the day after your operation. This will be explained further in the pre-op knee group.

  1. Can I put all my weight on the leg straight away

Yes your new knee is good enough to take all your weight however pain will normally limit this initially.

After being discharged from hospital

  1. Will I see the physiotherapist once I have been discharged

You can expect to see a physiotherapist in the first few weeks after being discharged from hospital. However remember it is your responsibility to continue all the exercises you have been taught in the hospital on a regular basis for up to 18 months after your new knee.

  1. Where can I go to have my physiotherapy

You will be offered an appointment at the RSCH physiotherapy department but if you wish to attend a department closer to home we can also organise this for you.

  1. When can I drive again

We would not recommend that you drive for the first 6 weeks. If you have your right knee replaced you must be able to perform an emergency stop. Please seek advice at your follow up if you are unsure. Please remember to let your insurance company know.

  1. When can I fly again

Ideally you should not travel within 3 months of surgery. Sitting for prolonged periods increase the risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis. We do not recommend any form of prolonged travel within 6 weeks of surgery.

  1. When can I play golf again

We would normally say after 3 months. Indications for returning to golf include no swelling, adequate range of movement and full strength. Please ask at your follow up if you have any concerns.

  1. When can I go to the gym again

You can begin upper limb work as soon as you are mobile. Static bike is a useful way of gaining more bend in your knee. However please be guided by your physiotherapist.

  1. Can I kneel on my knee after the operation

You may kneel on your knee after 6 weeks however you should expect this to feel a little uncomfortable. You should always kneel on something soft.

  1. How long will I get niggles from my knee?

You can expect minor discomfort in your knee for up to 18 months however we would expect this to reduce over time.

Useful websites to link

Please click on the links below for further details about total knee replacement:

NHS Choices – useful information about what total knee replacement is.

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