Your Guide to Getting Better: Post Knee Surgery Recovery

June 26th, 2014

So, you’ve been told your knee condition requires surgery. Now you’re wondering just what exactly this procedure entails and how long your recovery process will be. Will you need physical therapy? When will you be able to get back to playing the sports you love? Recovery from knee surgery is an important part of the healing process.

Surgical Knee Repair 
Before delving into how to recover, let’s look at why you are having to recover in the first place. Unfortunately, there are many different ways to injure the knee and each different condition requires a different type of surgical treatment. It is important to understand which procedure you may undergo so that you can be properly prepared for your post knee surgery recovery. The following knee surgeries are offered at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute:
Bilateral Knee Replacement -  This surgery is needed when the cartilage present in both knees has worn away. During this surgery, both knees are replace with a prosthesis (artificial knee). 
Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Repair/Reconstruction- This surgery is performed to stabilize the knee after an injury is more than 3 weeks old or when a ligament is torn in the middle. 
Meniscal Tear Surgeries - When the meniscus is torn, it is a mechanical problem, and therefore requires a mechanical solution (surgery). During this procedure, partial removal or repair of the meniscus is provided. 
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Reconstruction  - This type of surgery is used to re-stabilize the knee by reconstruction of the PCL. This procedure is often performed on athletes.
Total Knee Replacement- When the cartilage of the knee is completely worn away, the entire knee needs to be replaced with a prosthesis in order to regain functionality. 
The Road to Post Knee Surgery Recovery 
It is important to remember that your recovery time will depend on the type of surgery that you have. It will most likely take less time to recover from meniscal tear repair than from a total knee replacement. But regardless of the type of knee surgery you undergo, there are some standardized tips that will help your post knee surgery recovery go smoothly. 
  1. Follow pre-surgery instructions: It is important to follow all of the pre-surgery instructions that you are given. They are provided to you for a reason, which is to ensure that you meet all requirements necessary so that the surgery can be performed. If you have any questions or concerns about the instructions provided to you, be sure to consult with your doctor. 
  2. At-home Care: The care you have arranged for yourself when you return to your home is every bit as important as the post-op care you receive in the hospital. 
  • Caring for surgery site - To avoid infection, and help your incisions to heal faster, it is imperative that you follow the care instructions you are given in the hospital. 
  • Pain medication - Be sure to never take more of the medication than recommended, and try to take the medication before pain hits its peak. 
  • Maintain the proper activity level- When healing, you do not want to over exert yourself and risk potentially harming your knee, yet you also do not want to remain completely inactive. Consult with your doctor and/or a physical therapist to create an appropriate rehab plan. 
  • Maintain a proper medical follow up plan: Make sure to attend all of your follow up appointments with your doctor, physical therapist or knee specialist. If you do not maintain these appointments, it will be impossible to track how you are healing and to make the necessary changes to your treatment plan. 
Whenever you are recovering from a surgery, it is in your best interest to be fully informed. You should not feel foolish asking questions. In fact, the more you equip yourself with the knowledge about your treatment, the more successful you will be in your post knee surgery recovery. Here at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, our teams of world-renowned physicians love working personally with patients and place a high value on patient education. You can come to us with your questions and you can depend on us for quality care and outstanding results.
For more information on a particular surgical procedure or to make an appointment, call us today at 1-800-321-9999.
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