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 2 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 am 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 1 to 2 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 1 to 3 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.