The majority of total knee replacement patients are very anxious to know when they will be able to return to their normal activities following surgery. Many factors contribute to overall recovery time, but typically, a return to normal activities can be anticipated anywhere from three to six months after a total knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon in Beverly Hills.
Total knee arthroplasty, a highly successful surgical procedure, involves replacing all three knee components and the damaged weight-bearing surfaces that cause severe pain. This includes replacement of the kneecap (patella) and the top part of the tibia (shin bone) along with the bottom part of the femur (thigh bone).
Overall total knee replacement recovery can be divided into two distinct periods: short-term and long-term. Short-term requires a patient being able to walk with either minimal or no assistance plus progression from prescription pain killers to over the counter medications. These two things generally occur in the initial 12 week post-operative period.
Long-term recovery involves a patient actually returning to their job and normal everyday activities after complete healing of the surgical wounds and internal soft tissues has taken place. This may also include participation in recreational activities such as golf, tennis, cycling, hiking, swimming and more.
In the very early stages of short-term recovery, patients will progress from successfully getting out of bed to discharge from hospital. On post-op day 1 or 2, total knee replacement patients begin to use a walker for stabilization. By day 3, the majority of patients are sent home.
After approximately twelve weeks, a patient should no longer require any kind of walking aid(s), plus he should be able to walk around their house without any pain or mobility issues. The ultimate goal of short-term recovery is successfully walking without assistance or pain medication for approximately thirty minutes.
Long-term recovery is defined as the total healing of surgical wounds and associated internal soft tissues. When a total knee replacement patient can resume his or her job, as well as accomplish all previous daily routines/activities without any assistance, he or she is well on the way to achieving full recovery. Another good indicator of total recovery is when a patient says he feels 100 percent again. On average, long-term recovery for total knee replacement patients is somewhere in the range of three to six months.
Los Angeles orthopedic surgeons consider their patients totally recovered when post-operative status is much improved from preoperative pain levels with minimal pain medication necessary, wound is completely healed, range of motion is satisfactory and the patient can walk as much as desired.