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WHAT YOU NEED TO 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.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
Before your surgery:
- Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
- An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
- Regional anesthesia: Medicine is injected to numb the body area where the surgery or procedure will be done. You will remain awake during the surgery or procedure.
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.
During your surgery:
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.
After your surgery:
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.
- Take deep breaths and cough 10 times each hour. This will decrease your risk for a lung infection. Take a deep breath and hold it for as long as you can. Let the air out and then cough strongly. Deep breaths help open your airway. You may be given an incentive spirometer to help you take deep breaths. Put the plastic piece in your mouth and take a slow, deep breath, then let the air out and cough. Repeat these steps 10 times every hour.
- You may need to wear inflatable boots and pressure stockings. The boots have an air pump that tightens and loosens different areas of the boots. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots.
- Move your legs, ankles, and feet as directed while you are in bed. You may be asked to stand the same day of your surgery. You may start to walk the day after your surgery.
- You may need to use a cane, walker, or crutches. These devices will help decrease your risk of falling. Use your device as directed. You may also need to wear a knee brace during exercises. It may be worn for 30 to 40 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day.
- Physical therapy will be needed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
- A continuous passive motion (CPM) machine may be used to slowly bend and straighten your knee as you lie in bed. You may need to use this machine several hours each day to prevent stiffness and decrease pain.
- Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine. You may get pain medicine through an IV or an epidural line attached to a patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pump. Healthcare providers set the pump to let you give yourself small amounts of pain medicine when you push a button. Your pump may also give you a constant amount of medicine, in addition to the medicine that you give yourself. Let healthcare providers know if your pain is still bad even with the pain medicine.
- Antibiotics help treat or prevent a bacterial infection.
- Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
- Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Blood thinners may be given before, during, and after a surgery or procedure. Blood thinners make it more likely for you to bleed or bruise.
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.
CARE AGREEMENT:You 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.
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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.