Total Knee Replacement (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

How does the patient continue to improve as an outpatient after discharge from the hospital?

It is important for patients to continue in an outpatient physical-therapy program along with home exercises for optimal outcome of total knee replacement surgery. Patients will be asked to continue exercising the muscles around the replaced joint to prevent scarring (contracture) and maintain muscle strength for the purposes of joint stability. These exercises after surgery can reduce recovery time and lead to optimal strength and stability.

The wound will be monitored by the surgeon and his/her staff for healing. Patients also should watch for warning signs of infection including abnormal redness, increasing warmth, swelling, or unusual pain. It is important to report any injury to the joint to the doctor immediately.

Future activities are generally limited to those that do not risk injuring the replaced joint. Sports that involve running or contact are avoided, in favor of leisure sports, such as golf, and swimming. Swimming is the ideal form of exercise, since the sport improves muscle strength and endurance without exerting any pressure or stress on the replaced joint.

Patients with joint replacements should alert their doctors and dentists that they have an artificial joint. These joints are at risk for infection by bacteria introduced by any invasive procedures such as surgery, dental or gum work, urological and endoscopic procedures, as well as from infections elsewhere in the body.

The treating physician will typically prescribe antibiotics before, during, and immediately after any elective procedures in order to prevent infection of the replaced joint.

Though infrequent, patients with total knee replacements can require a second operation years later. The second operation can be necessary because of loosening, fracture, or other complications of the replaced joint. Reoperations are generally not as successful as the original operation and carry higher risks of complications. Future replacement devices and techniques will improve patient outcomes and lead to fewer complications.

Previous contributing editor: Dennis Lee, MD

REFERENCE:

Klippel, John H., eds., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. 13th ed. New York: Springer and Arthritis Foundation, 2008.


Last Editorial Review: 2/14/2012


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Total Knee Replacement - Experience Question: Please describe your Total Knee Replacement experience.
Total Knee Replacement - Candidate and Causes Question: What was the cause of you needing a total knee replacement?
Total Knee Replacement - Recovery Question: Please share your experience with recovery following a total knee replacement surgery.

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!