Prepare for Total Knee Replacement Surgery
Edited by Robbi, Maria Quinney, Eng, Lynn
The knee is a type of joint that is hinged to permit body movement. It makes walking and sitting possible, and when injured or damaged, it can make those positions and movements, as well as sleeping, very difficult to accomplish. Your knees are made up of two bones that are held in place by ligaments, which are flexible in nature. The knee cap, or the patella, also forms part of the joint of your knee, by sliding over the bone as the knee is bent.
TKR, or Total Knee Replacement is a surgery which is done to repair the joint that has become worn out due to injury or age processes. TKR should not be confused with revision surgery, as the secondary surgery is called.There are multiple reasons why a TKR may be proposed. Knee injuries or arthritic conditions may exist that can cause pain, joint damage, inflammation, fluid buildup and other problems, all of which interfere with mobility. You may hear the term arthritis used frequently and think to yourself that you don't have arthritis, however the term is quite often used to mean any type condition that is leaving damage to the cartilage. Inflammation of the synovial area can create damage and have raw bones rubbing on each other. Actual Osteoarthritis is one reason why the knee may need to be replaced, which is by and large considered to be just wear and tear on the knees, while Rheumatoid arthritis, primarily inflammatory in nature can also create the same problems with the knee joint. You may be predisposed to this type joint condition by heredity, by injury such as old fractures that involved your joints or tears in ligaments.
When you are preparing for total knee replacement certain things will be very helpful in ensuring that you recover more readily and more fully.
- 1Remaining as active as you can, even if the activity causes some pain is going to benefit you greatly in the long run. There is no reason to believe that continuing activity causes any further deterioration of the knee than has already taken place, and the activity is important for your overall physical and mental well being. Continued activity also helps you to remain fit for the surgery and keeps the muscles strong that you will need for your recuperation. Taking pain medications prior to exercise as needed will also assist you in tolerating the pain that the exercise causes to a greater degree.If you have no real problems with stomach issues or allergies to prevent it, then taking NSAID's, or non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin as your doctor directs may help.
- 2Although the pain in the diseased or injured knee is probably going to be difficult to bear some days, the health community tends to agree that you need to stay as active as you can and stay fit during the time before you're considering a total knee replacement, orTKR. The overall health and fitness level that you keep can make a great difference in your recovery time.Stay active.
- 3Make sure that you do not miss appointments. The physical and the presurgery tests will tell you whether or not you are fit enough for the surgery. In addition, you're going to need to be typed and crossmatched for a transfusion, and your doctor will need to advise you about what medications you should stop taking about a week prior to your TKR.You are going to need multiple consults with your doctor.
- 4You are carefully typed and matched and your blood is given to you from sources that are beyond reproach, or if you prefer, you have the option to donate your own blood and to receive it back again for your surgery in most cases. If this is not an option for you, then you may want to consider having another family member or friend donate for you. Bear in mind that restrictions on who can donate blood are there so you will want to plan accordingly. Knowing your own blood type will help you to find a good match for donors if you are unable to donate your own blood to receive it back again.Although every effort and consideration is made to assure that your blood loss will be minimal, nearly all patients who have knee surgery are transfused after the surgery because of oozing blood.
- 5Make sure that you have an adequate support system in place so that you can be certain that you're adequately cared for. The first few days at home post surgery are going to be difficult for you. There will be some pain involved, although your doctor will prescribe pain medication. However, for a week or so, depending on your rate of recuperation, getting around isn't going to be an easy task, and taking the stairs above all else may be problematic. Cooking meals and standing for long periods of time will be something that is tiring. If you're alone, or in charge of children or others during that time period, you're going to want to make allowances for letting yourself heal, as well as for your own care and comfort.The biggest detriment that most people face is that they may be alone to recuperate, and in fact this is a surgery that does require some assistance at home when you are released, so you should try to have a support system in place.
- The first two weeks after surgery you should not: