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Questions to ask your doctor after knee replacement

Definition

You had surgery to get a new knee joint.

Below are questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your new joint.

Alternative Names

What to ask your doctor after knee replacement; Knee replacement - after - what to ask your doctor; Knee arthroplasty - after - what to ask your doctor

Questions

When will I go home? Will I be able to go straight home, or do I need to go to a rehabilitation facility for more recovery?

How active will I be after I go home?

  • How long will I need to use crutches or a walker after I go home?
  • When can I begin to place weight on my new joint?
  • How much weight can I put on my new joint?
  • Do I need to be careful about how I sit or move around?
  • How much walking can I do? Do I need to use a cane?
  • Will I be able to walk without pain? How far?
  • When will I be able to do other activities, such as golf, swimming, tennis, or hiking?

Will I have pain medicines when I go home? How should I take them?

Will I need to take blood thinners when I go home?

  • How often? How long?
  • Do I need to have my blood drawn to monitor how the drugs affect me?

How can I get my home ready after I go home?

  • How much help will I need when I come home?
  • Will I be able to get out of bed?
  • How can I make my home safer for me?
  • How can I make my home easier to get around?
  • How can I make it easier for myself in the bathroom and shower?
  • What type of supplies will I need when I get home?
  • Do I need to rearrange my home?
  • What should I do if there are steps that go to my bedroom or bathroom?

What are the signs that something is wrong with my new knee? How can I prevent problems with my new knee?

What are other signs and symptoms that I need to call the doctor's office?

How do I take care of my surgical wound?

  • How often should I change the dressing? How do I wash the wound?
  • What should my wound look like? What wound problems do I need to watch for?
  • When do sutures and staples come out?
  • Can I take a shower? Can I take a bath or soak in the hot tub? How about swimming?

References

Mihalko WM. Arthroplasty of the knee. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 7.

Review Date:3/9/2017
Reviewed By:C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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