friend in central USA is contemplating knee replacement surgery, any experiences from members of the board?
knee replacement surgery
In our local hospital, we have a unit especially for joint replacement patients that I worked on for 2 1/2 years. I would suggest that if your friend is the least bit uneasy with his doctor's recommendation for joint replacement he should get a second opinion. It never hurts. If he feels confident about the diagnosis and feels comfortable with the surgeon proceed. This surgery generally takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours under general anesthesia.
In my experience, he can expect his hospital stay to be about 4 days and to be discharged to his home with either home physical therapy(the therapist come to him) or out patient physical therapy (he goes to the therapist). OR discharged to a rehab facility where he would be an inpatient and have physical therapy a couple of times each day, usually for a 10-14 day stay. Usually that decision rests on how well the patient does with his therapy while still in the hospital.
The incision is rather long and is usually closed with surgical staples that are removed in about 10 days. The wound is easy to care for. He should expect to have a drain in the knee for 2 to 3 days after surgery and to be prescribed blood thinning medication (for the prevention of blood clots) that will be taken for a short time after surgery. Medication taken by mouth can be used but most of our surgeons prescribed an injectable drug called Lovenox. It comes in a pre-filled syringe and the patient or a family member injects the medicine in the abdomen, usually once a day.
Regarding pain: yes he can expect to have pain after his surgery, the nursing staff cannot make him pain free. Our patients came up from surgery with a pain pump, a device set to deliver medicine (usually demerol or morphine) on a continuous basis with the patient able to give himself extra medicine at timed intervals, they would have this through the first night after surgery. The next AM they would start on oral pain medications. While he will have surgical pain, he will note that the type of pain he had prior to surgery (usually because of bone rubbing on bone), is gone.
He needs to expect to be gotten up fairly quickly after surgery, usually the next am, but maybe the evening after surgery. That depends on his doctor. He also needs to expect to use a walker for several weeks after surgery, if he lives alone it would be advisable for him to arrange for someone to come and spend a few weeks to help out.
Hope this was helpful RN
All I can add to what the RN said, above, is:
1. Get the best surgeon you can; you want someone who does 3 or 4 of these every day before breakfast!
2. Do the physical therapy. In fact, start it before your surgery (ask your doctor for recommended exercises). You'll do better if you take the exercise program seriously because it will strengthen the muscles that help support your knee. You'll be amazed how much better you can get around!