Knee Replacement Surgery

The following is a description of what you can expect if you have knee replacement surgery at the Center for Joint Replacement at Ridgeview:

What to Expect on the Day of Surgery

  • You should arrive at the Surgery Department two hours before surgery.
  • A nurse will review your medications and help you prepare for surgery.
  • The anesthesia team will meet with you and develop a plan for anesthesia.
  • The anesthesiologist will give you a nerve block injection in the groin for pain control; the effects of the block last for about 24 hours.
  • Following the operation, you will be in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit for about an hour for close monitoring.
  • Eventually you will be transfered to the Joint Center for post-operative care by the orthopaedic nursing staff.
  • A physical therapist may evaluate you and start your exercises this afternoon.
  • You may rest and visit with friends and family for the remainder of the day and evening.

Day 1 After Surgery

  • We'll get you up early to check your hemoglobin level and get you started on oral pain medications.
  • An occupational therapist will show you how to use adaptive equipment while getting dressed and ready for the day.
  • The physical therapist will assess you one-on-one in your room in the morning, working on your exercises and walking short distances with a walker.
  • After lunch, you will attend group physical therapy with other total joint patients; your coach is encouraged to attend.
  • In the evening, you will walk a couple of times with nursing staff, getting more accustomed to your new knee.

Day 2 After Surgery

  • Nursing and rehab staff will help you practice being more independent and make sure you can dress yourself when it’s time to go home.
  • At approximately 8:30 a.m., you'll attend group physical therapy.
  • At 11:30 a.m. you will have a buffet lunch with other patients, your coach and the nursing staff; lunch is offered to your coach at no charge.
  • Right after lunch, we’ll begin some of your discharge teaching, making sure that you and your coach are prepared to go home.
  • At about 1 p.m. you will have a second group therapy session, practicing stairs, transfers and other activities.
  • Most patients are ready to leave the hospital today; plan for your coach to be available for one-on-one discharge instructions and to take you home later this afternoon.

Day 3 After Surgery (if necessary)

  • Similar to the second day, you will wake up early, have lab work, get dressed and be ready for breakfast by 7:30 a.m.
  • Physical therapy is at 8:30 a.m. and you will have a final chance to practice stairs, curbs and transfers
  • You will get one-on-one instruction regarding medications from your nurse and then be discharged before lunch.
  • You should arrange for your coach to be here by 9 a.m. for discharge instructions and to give you a ride.

If You’re Going Directly Home

  • Someone responsible needs to drive you.
  • You will start outpatient physical therapy a day or two after you go home; get this appointment scheduled before your surgery and hospital stay.
  • Most patients need therapy for at least a month after knee replacement surgery.
  • If you require home health services, we will arrange this for you. After one to two weeks of home care, you will be ready to transition to outpatient physical therapy.

If You’re Going to a Transitional Care Facility

  • You can expect to stay three nights at the hospital, leaving on Day 3 after morning physical therapy.
  • You should arrange for someone to drive you. Alternatively, Ridgeview Social Services can set up a medical van, but this is not covered by your insurance.
  • A typical stay after knee replacement surgery is one to three weeks, depending on your progress and what resources are available to you at home.
  • You will probably need home care or outpatient physical therapy following your stay at the facility.

Center for Joint Replacement Patient Education Video

Please refer to this video and your joint center guidebook following your surgery.

Post Surgery Instructions