In this article I am going to describe what to expect on the day of your total knee replacement.
Preparation for your total knee replacement starts the night before your surgery. It is very important to take a vigorous shower using a special soap called hibiclens. It can be purchased at most pharmacies like Walgreens. For full instructions of use, read more here.
It is important to arrive at the hospital at least 2 hours before surgery. During that time you will have plenty of opportunities to discuss the events of the day, get the IV started and for the surgeon to come by and also confirm the side of surgery.
Surgery will occur in a room that is specifically designed for total joint replacements; the air flow system is very high to keep down the risk infection and all the staff in your surgery will be wearing ‘space suits’. They are body exhaust systems that keep our bacteria from getting to the patient. These measures have been very successful in lowering the rates of infection to an almost negligible degree.
During the surgery, the surgeon is likely to use a tourniquet on your leg which may cause some thigh discomfort a few days following surgery. The tourniquet is important because as the surgeon performs the surgery it minimizes blood loss.
After surgery, you will go to the recovery room. At that point we will have given you some very powerful pain medications. Pain reduction is our major objective in that the first couple of days. Your surgeon may vary on what he recommends but most of the protocols call for you taking few pills before the procedure followed by pain injections into the nerves of your leg of into the soft tissues around the knee itself.
In the recovery room, with the IV in place, our nurses will be able to give you some powerful medicines to make that transition from the operating room to the floor. You will stay in the recovery room for 30-40 minutes before being moved to the nursing floor. At that point, you may be placed into a machine that will both elevate your knee and provide motion.
The nursing staff will be very attentive to your need, particularly pain reduction. Once again, you will be offered either pain medication through the IV or pills to help you get through that first day.
Many surgeons will ask you to walk on the first day of surgery, don’t let this concern you. One of the problems that may occur after a knee replacement, although uncommon, are blood clots. Our best defense against these blood clots is to mobilize you as quickly as possible. With the aid of skillful pain medications and expert staff we will more than likely ask you to walk on that same day.
If you have any questions about knee replacements or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact 713-441-3470.