Total knee replacement; Knee arthroplasty; Knee replacement - total
Expectations after surgery
The results of a total knee replacement are often excellent. The operation relieves pain in over 90% of patients, and most need no assistance walking after recovery. Most prostheses last 10 to 15 years, some as long as 20 years, before loosening and requiring revision surgery.
The hospital stay generally lasts 3-5 days, but the total recovery period varies from 2-3 months to a year. Walking and range-of-motion exercises will be started immediately after surgery. Some surgeons recommend using a machine that will bend the knee for the patient in bed.
Some patients require a short stay in a rehabilitation hospital to become safely independent in their activities of daily living. It may be necessary to use crutches or a walker for a few weeks or even months after surgery.
The physical therapy started in the hospital will continue after you've gone home until your strength and motion return. Contact sports should generally be avoided, but low impact activities, such as swimming and golf, are usually possible after full recovery from surgery.
Review Date: 08/08/2005
Reviewed By: Kevin B. Freedman, MD, MSCE, Sports Medicine, Orthopaedic Specialists, Bryn Mawr, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.