If a patient is suffering from severe pain in both knees, due either to arthritis or trauma, a bilateral knee replacement may be recommended. During this procedure, the surgeon cleans out the damaged bone and cartilage and implants prosthetic pieces of metal and high-grade plastic. The ultimate goal of the surgery is to restore the knees’ natural ability to glide smoothly and bend with ease.
If you are considering your treatment options, you probably have quite a few questions. You might be wondering about the recovery time for bilateral total knee arthroplasty or whether you would have a simultaneous or staged surgery. Some patients are most concerned about the potential risks, while others are simply wondering when they can get back to playing golf! No matter what your concern, the expert knee team at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute has the answers.
Timeline for the Recovery Time for Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty
Immediately Following Surgery: You’ll be encouraged to start moving as soon as possible after surgery. Leg extensions and ankle rolls will be quickly followed by getting out of bed to start taking supported steps. You would be given blood thinners to prevent blood clots.
Within the First Few Days: Most people are able to leave the hospital the day after their procedure. Be sure to have arrangements made for a ride home as well as plenty of help once you get back. Your surgeon or a physical therapist will provide you with instructions for stretching and strengthening exercises to perform at home. The recovery time for bilateral total knee arthroplasty depends partially on your own commitment to PT.
Within the First Several Weeks: Patients are usually advised to make use of crutches or a walker to assist them as they regain strength and stability with their new knee/s. Be careful to follow your surgeon’s instructions concerning taking care of the incision site.
About Six Weeks Post Surgery: the post-op visit will be four to six weeks from the surgery date. At this point, most general activities can be resumed, including driving. As you progress through physical therapy and your physician follows up with you, talk about when is a good time to get back to more physically demanding activities, such as jogging or playing tennis.
A Few More Tips for a Successful Recovery:
Make your shower a safe place during your recovery by installing a safety bar and adding a seat
Purchase a footstool or use an ottoman to elevate your leg while you are resting
Talk to your surgeon about planning a “graduated walking program” that would include stages to improve your strength and mobility over time