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Frequently Asked Questions
Are you thinking of undergoing knee replacement surgery and have some burning questions?
You can find the answers to some of your questions in our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Your Questions Answered
How serious is it having a joint replacement?
Having a joint replaced is a major operation. While most people have a good result and an active recovery, there are surgical and medical risks you need to be aware of. Ask your surgeon for more details.
How much pain will there be?
Every person and situation is different, but some pain can be expected for up to 12 weeks after your surgery. Most say pain is hardly noticeable after 3 months and continues to improve as your body heals. To help manage pain, a range of pain relief options may be offered to you in hospital. This may include ice packs, leg exercises, oral pain medicines, nerve blocks or patient-controlled analgesia.
How long will I be in hospital?
On average, patients go home 5 days after surgery. Some patients only stay in hospital for 2 or 3 days. This continues to improve as patient care advances. Individuals recover at different rates, but the care provided in hospital is intended to allow you to return home as soon as possible.
How mobile will I be after the operation?
Generally, some movement may be lost after surgery. You should be able to bend and do most everyday things. Mobility typically improves over time with progress through your exercise program.
When can I start walking again after my operation?
As soon as the effects of the anaesthetic wear off it is possible to begin moving and walking. The physiotherapist or nurses will help you get up for the first time. You will usually be able to put full weight on your new knee joint straight away, but most people use a walking aid for about 6 weeks after the surgery.
When can I start driving again?
You may recommence driving again about 6-8 weeks after your operation, depending on which leg you had the operation on and how quickly you regain the movement, strength and control in your leg. Strong pain relief medications can also affect your driving ability so seek approval from your doctor before starting to drive.
When will I be able to go back to work?
Everyone is different. Your surgeon will address this with you and create a plan to protect your knee joint during your initial weeks back at work.
How can I prepare my family and myself before surgery?
Several weeks before you undergo knee replacement surgery, discuss your recovery with your surgeon and caregiver(s). Speak with your family members and/or friends about the role they will play in your recovery. Explain the surgery process to them and the care you will need after surgery.
Will I need extra help to manage at home?
While the goal is for you to be able to be independent at home, you are likely to need help for things like shopping, laundry and cleaning. Before you arrive at the hospital you should think about your options to manage these tasks and who can help you or stay with you after surgery.
This information is intended for residents of Australia only.
The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before you make decisions about your health.
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