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What you should know
Knee replacement is surgery to replace all or part of your knee joint. It is also called knee arthroplasty. The knee joint is where your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (large lower leg bone or shin bone) meet. A small bone called the patella (kneecap) protects your knee joint.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nerves or blood vessels may be damaged during surgery. After surgery, your knee may be stiff or numb. You may continue to have knee pain. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening. Your implant may get loose or move out of place. The implant may get worn out over time and need to be replaced.
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- You may need x-rays, a CT scan, or an MRI. This will help your healthcare provider plan your surgery. Ask about any tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your surgery:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
What will happen:
Your surgeon will make an incision over your knee joint. He will remove the damaged parts of your knee joint and replace them with the knee implant. He may secure it with medical cement. Your surgeon will move the muscles and other tissues around your joint back into place. A drain may be placed to remove extra blood and fluids from the surgery area. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.
You will be taken to a room where you can rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely. Do not try to get out of bed. When healthcare providers see that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. You may need to use a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine. This machine will slowly bend and straighten your knee for you as you lie in bed.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery.
- You get a cold, the flu, or have a fever.
- You have infected skin or a wound near the area where your surgery will be done.
- You have questions or concerns about your knee surgery.
Seek Care Immediately if
- The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.
- You have severe knee pain.
- You have more trouble walking or moving your knee.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.