Knee replacement surgery requires hundred per cent commitment from the patient and the caregiver. All stakeholders must play an active role in the patient’s care and rehabilitation. Active participation can help the patient get there sooner and ensure a more successful outcome.
Immediately Post Knee Surgery
Patients are usually required to stay in the hospital for several days after surgery. During this period, the nursing staff will help the patient take short walks using the support of a walker. Depending on the type of procedure and several other factors such as the condition of the knee pre surgery, a patient may even be able to walk on the same day as the surgery. On an average, a patient will be able to stand up with some support within 24 hours of the surgery.
A 360 degree post-surgery rehabilitation plan is essential for regaining strength and aiding and expediting a full recovery. This will differ from patient to patient however may broadly involve the following:
- Pain management for maintaining a certain comfort level so the patient can focus on recovery
- Regular physiotherapy sessions for resuming mobility
- Occupational therapy for resuming work
Knee Care after Hospital Discharge
Once a patient is discharged, he/she may require some help from his/her caregivers, while at home for some time. This time period may vary from several days to several weeks differing from patient to patient.
Preparing Your Home:
A caregiver can make the patient’s stay at home more comfortable. He/she can set up the furniture so that the patient can’t slip or fall easily. Removing any throw rugs or organizing any clutter will help. The patient should avoid stairs so his/her living arrangements may need to be adjusted to ensure this.
It is completely normal for the patient to feel pain post-surgery. The orthopedic surgeon will prescribe medication to alleviate the pain. Initially, the dosage will be high but will be reduced gradually with time and progress. The patient and the caregiver must ensure that all medication is taken on time and with proper consultation.
It is likely that the orthopedic surgeon will prescribe antibiotics to prevent bacterial infection in the artificial joint. The patient and caregiver must also do their part by keeping the wound area clean, following the surgeon’s instructions on when to take a bath and monitoring the wound area and overall health carefully. In case the wound area starts to become red, this could mean that there is an infection.
Possible Complications after Knee Replacement Surgery
Infection is one of the main risks associated with a knee replacement surgery. However, a qualified orthopedic surgeon will take all necessary precautions. Infection is caused by microorganisms who latch on to the artificial implant. This can then spread to the surrounding tissue. There are many tests such as blood tests and blood cultures to gauge infection at an early stage.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT):
Post-surgery there is a risk that the patient may develop deep vein thrombosis or a blood clot. The orthopedic surgeon is likely to prescribe a blood thinner in advance to prevent this. The patient and caregiver can help prevent blood clots by exercising the patient’s legs as indicated or wearing support stockings, which increases circulation.