Frequently Asked Questions about Total Knee Surgery
These questions are the ones we have found to be most frequently asked by our patients over the years. We have asked several previous Total Knee patients to review the questions/answers to be sure we are answering your concerns.
Please Note: These topics may not be specific to your personal medical history.
If you have a complicated medical history, you may want to speak further with Dr. Sotos about your questions or concerns.
Q: How long will the operation last?
A: Usually one hour for the actual surgery. The “before” and “after recovery” take more time and are always according to the individual.
Q: Is this a complicated or dangerous surgery?
A: Any surgery should be considered complicated or dangerous and approached with much consideration – BUT – we are experienced in providing a very high standard of care before, during and after your knee surgery. In general, our patients do very well and often wish they had not waited so long to get the surgery done.
Q: Can both knees be done at the same time?
A: We do not do both knees at the same time because we feel the rehabilitation AFTER surgery is very important and dealing with both knees harms that process.
Q: Will there be much pain after the operation?
A: There will be pain after the operation. You will be provided with pain medication suited to your medical condition. We are very sensitive to this issue and always try our best to make the patient as comfortable as possible within the limits of safety.
Q: How big is the incision?
A: About six inches along the middle of your knee , centered on your kneecap (up and down).
Q: Will there be a scar?
A: Yes, most likely a narrow pink line after all is healed – but everyone heals differently. If you are prone to scars, your surgery scar may be more noticeable.
Q: How long will I be in the hospital?
A: Most people are in the main hospital area for four to five days and then transferred to a rehabilitation area of the hospital for another four to five days.
Q: Would it help to do exercises ahead of time?
A: Absolutely! YES! If you perform knee strengthening exercises before, it will help you rehabilitate faster.
Q: After I go home, what will happen?
A: By the time you are ready to go home, you should be an expert on rehabilitation exercises. You will continue your daily exercises, graduate from a walker to a cane and gradually resume your normal daily routine within two months. You should take extra care not to injure your knee during this time.
Q: Will I have visiting nurses after I go home?
A: Yes, most likely. You will have to have a short series of blood tests to check on your blood thinning medication and the nurses will check your incision as well as your rehabilitation progress. These visits usually continue for one to two weeks.
Q: Will this operation improve the pain in my hips and back?
A: YES! By the time you reached the point of having a knee replacement, the problem with your knee has affected your posture in all activities and placed pressures on your other joints. You will notice the difference very soon after surgery.
Q: How son after the operation will I be able to bath or shower?
A: Most patients will begin showers the third or fourth day after surgery. Bathing is complicated by your ability to get in and out of the tub and is restricted until you are more mobile.
Q: I have other medical problems (asthma, diabetes, heart, etc. ). Will this affect my surgery?
A: We always take into consideration all of those factors in deciding your individual course of treatment. Your medical history affects the decisions we make about how to go about your surgery but not necessarily the success of your surgery. Be sure that we know your complete history ahead of time.
Q: What about the medications that I take on a regular basis?
A: You should be sure that we know each and every medication that you take as well as any herbal preparations, vitamins, alcohol consumption and tobacco use. All of these are important to consider and could impact your care in ways that may surprise you. Your required prescription medications will be managed by Dr. Sotos and your personal physician during your hospital stay. Some medications may need to be temporarily stopped for the surgery.
Q: What should I bring to the hospital?
A: Not very much! You should bring only personal items for grooming, a loose fitting robe, pajamas or gowns that would not restrict your leg, non-skid sole slippers that fit snug(not open back), easily managed undergarments and any NON-VALUABLE items that make you feel at home.