Weeks of waiting, dozens of appointments, and innumerable questions have led you and your doctor to opt for knee replacement surgery. Take heart: a future with less pain and increased movement is on the horizon. While your surgeon will handle your procedure with expert care, you can take the following actions in your preparation to maximize the benefit of your surgery:
- If you’re currently taking prescription drugs, your doctor may adjust or add medications to aid surgery (like adding an anticoagulant for blood control) or ease recovery (like a new antibiotic to proactively fight infection).
- As a general rule, cut aspirins and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) a week before surgery to prevent bleeding complications.
- You may be required to bank blood, having liters periodically drawn and saved prior to surgery to aid in transfusion in case of emergency mid-operation.
- While your knee recovers, the rest of your body will need to help pick up the slack. Ask your doctor to recommend exercises that will help strengthen your core, back, and arms, better enabling you to use crutches and maneuver yourself as you recuperate
- Make meals and freeze ahead of time. If you live alone, arrange for someone to call or stop by daily to check on you.
- Buy a large bag of frozen peas or corn to use for cold therapy/pain relief.
- Have a stool softener on hand, as pain medication commonly causes constipation.
- A thermometer should be kept close, body temperature should be monitored daily for 2 weeks following surgery. Your surgeon will have parameters for notification (i.e. body temp above 100.5, call the office).
- If surgery will be on your RIGHT knee, you may not be able to drive for several weeks. Be sure to plan ahead and arrange for transportation.
Look out next week for part two of this series, 9 Tips For Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery.
If you need assistance with joint recovery or rehabilitation, the Johns Hopkins Home Care Group’s Home Health Services team is happy to help you through the process. You can contact us by calling 410-288-8100 or toll free at 800-288-8864.