Your knee replacement surgery will be performed under either general, epidural, or spinal anesthesia to ensure you’re comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure. Following the procedure, you have to stay in the hospital overnight (ranging from one to three days in all).
During that time, your care team works to get you rehabilitated, manage your pain, and monitor the healing process until you’re ready to go home. Just a day or two after surgery, you can return home if all goes well.
You can expect to experience some pain, but your pain should be managed well if you follow your provider’s instructions carefully. Pain medications, anti-inflammatories, ice, and physical therapy can help you limit pain and promote a full recovery.
It’s important to plan for help at home before you have surgery. You may need physical therapy for as long as three months and should refrain from driving for four to six weeks. Additionally, you may need help taking care of yourself at home while you recover.
While many patients can return to work six weeks after surgery, some are out for as long as 12 weeks. The amount of time you spend away from work will depend on multiple factors, including:
Pain management requires close adherence to your doctor’s instructions for home care. The best way to manage pain following surgery is to do your stretches and exercises as directed, take all of the medications prescribed to you, and avoid activities you’ve been instructed to avoid.
You can also help prevent complications by ensuring your home is safe when you return home from surgery. Consider setting up sleeping quarters on the main floor, installing handrails in the shower, and removing any trip hazards in advance.
Patients who’ve had knee replacement surgery can't participate in extreme sports, even when they have fully recovered.