If you need a knee replacement, you’ve most likely been dealing with pain for awhile. The thought of major surgery can be daunting, but the idea of finally being pain free is tempting. And going through a knee replacement isn’t just about the surgery itself; the biggest obstacle is the recovery afterward.
At the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico, our skilled team helps you through every step of your knee replacement journey. Our esteemed orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Omar Osmani, specializes in many different orthopedic problems and helps you decide whether surgery is necessary for your pain.
What is a knee replacement?
Knee replacement surgery is the last line of treatment for severe joint degeneration, usually due to osteoarthritis. If you’re at the point where surgery is the only option to get your life back, you’ve likely dealt with:
- Trouble climbing stairs
- Difficulty walking
- Problems standing up and sitting down
- Constant pain, even at rest
Once you’ve exhausted all other treatment options without much relief, Dr. Osmani recommends a knee replacement.
During the procedure, Dr. Osmani uses specialized surgical tools to remove the damaged areas of your knee joint. He then implants a prosthetic device to replace the damaged bone he removed. The prosthetic is usually made of ceramic, metal, or plastic.
What to expect after surgery
After Dr. Osmani closes your incision, we transfer you to the post-anesthesia care unit, where you rest for a few hours after surgery. Once you’re awake, you move to a room, where you spend a day or two under our supervision. After that, you go home to begin the recovery process.
Once home, the real work begins. You start physical therapy as soon as possible after surgery, to help strengthen the muscles around your joint. Physical therapy also helps you to regain the mobility of your new joint.
About three weeks after your knee replacement surgery, you should be experiencing less pain. You should also be able to walk around a bit and experience increased mobility in your knee. Other things you can expect at this point include:
- Walking for about 10 minutes
- Bathing and dressing yourself
- Completely extending your knee
- Using a cane, or nothing at all
You should be doing your physical therapy exercises at home each day to help speed up your recovery. Everyone progresses at their own rate, so your milestones may be different than other patients’ — your overall health and how determined you are to get back to your normal activities play a big a role.
At around 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, you should be moving around more easily, and the swelling and discomfort in your knee should be subsiding. As long as you’re sticking to your rehab plan, you should also be relying less on assistive devices. At this stage you should be able to:
- Perform activities like cooking
- Drive, as long as you’re cleared
- Return to work at a desk job
- At 6 weeks, you can travel
Before attempting anything new after your surgery, run it past Dr. Osmani first to make sure he says it’s okay. After 6 weeks, you should be well on your way to a life without knee pain. From weeks 7 to 12 weeks, you should be continuing with your physical therapy exercises.
At three months after surgery, you should have little to no pain, and the inflammation in your knee should be almost resolved. You should also slowly return to all of your normal activities, as long as you’re comfortable and don’t have pain. Continuing your therapy plan will ensure maximum mobility in your new joint.
How you can prepare for recovery
The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for a successful recovery after surgery, is to get things ready and in place before your procedure. Some of the ways you can prepare yourself, and your home prior to your procedure include:
- Confine your living space to the ground floor
- Install handrails in your bathroom
- Take out any rugs or excess cords
- Elevate your toilet seat with a riser
You may also want to make meals ahead of time and freeze them so that you don’t have to cook for several days post surgery. Preparing your home and planning before surgery makes your life and recovery a lot smoother.
The relief a knee replacement brings can be life changing. When you’re ready to take that step, call our office at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment with Dr. Osmani online today.