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Planning Ahead: How Long Does Knee Replacement Surgery Take

Knee Replacement Surgery Shown Through a Paper Diagram Over a Healthy Knee

Knee replacement surgery stands as a transformative solution for many grappling with debilitating knee issues. Amidst the considerations for this procedure, understanding the duration it takes can significantly impact a patient's preparedness and recovery expectations. From the surgical procedure itself to the subsequent recovery period, each phase plays a pivotal role in this transformative process. 

1. Surgical Procedure 

The actual knee replacement surgery typically lasts between one to two hours. At this stage, the orthopedic surgeon carefully removes damaged cartilage and bone, replacing them with prosthetic components. This part of the surgery needs to be precise and skillful to ensure the new implant aligns well and functions properly. Factors such as the patient's health, how much damage there is to the knee, and the specific type of procedure can slightly affect how long this phase takes. 

2. Immediate Post-Operative Phase 

Directly after surgery, patients spend time in the recovery room, usually for a few hours. Here, medical professionals closely monitor vital signs and ensure the patient's initial stability and comfort. This immediate phase focuses on pain management and initiating physical therapy exercises, aiding in early mobilization. 

3. Hospital Stay and Early Recovery 

After knee replacement surgery, most patients spend a few days in the hospital. How long they stay depends on their overall health and how well they're able to move and manage pain. While in the hospital, they start physical therapy sessions that help them regain strength and flexibility in the knee joint. However, some younger patients can recover remarkably quickly, only requiring an outpatient procedure

4. Long-Term Recovery 

The road to complete recovery extends beyond the hospital stay. After leaving the hospital, patients keep up with their rehab at home or a rehab center. They continue with physical therapy, slowly making it more challenging to improve how well they can move and their strength. This phase varies for each person but often goes on for several weeks to a few months. 

5. Return to Normal Activities 

The main aim of knee replacement surgery is to help patients get back to their usual activities. While it can take a few months for the initial recovery, most patients feel better and move easier within a few weeks after surgery. But it could take about a year to fully recover and see the knee joint’s functions completely return. 

6. Rehabilitation Challenges and Considerations 

The rehabilitation journey post-knee replacement surgery presents unique challenges and considerations. While the immediate post-operative phase and hospital stay mark the beginning of recovery, the subsequent rehabilitation process demands consistent commitment. Patients encounter hurdles such as muscle stiffness, swelling, and adapting to new movement patterns.  

Additionally, following prescribed exercises, gradually increasing activity levels, and avoiding excessive strain are all crucial. Patience and perseverance through these challenges are pivotal for a successful and comprehensive recovery post-surgery. 

7. Impact on Daily Life and Functional Improvement 

As patients progress through the recovery phases, they witness a gradual improvement in their daily activities. At first, tasks like walking or going up stairs might be hard, but they become easier with time. The surgery's success is reflected in improved mobility, reduced pain, and increased independence in performing daily tasks. Patients experience a significant transition from relying on assistive devices to regaining autonomy in their routine activities, showcasing the transformative impact of knee replacement surgery on their quality of life. 

8. Long-Term Outlook and Durability of the Implant 

Beyond the immediate recovery, patients often wonder about the longevity of the implanted knee joint. While prosthetic components have a durable lifespan, their longevity depends on various factors like activity level, adherence to rehabilitation, and overall health.  

The transition into the long-term phase involves regular follow-ups with the orthopedic surgeon to monitor the implant's condition and address any emerging concerns. Understanding the expected durability and caring for the implanted joint ensures a smooth transition into a sustained, active lifestyle post-recovery. 

How Long Does Great Knee Replacement Surgery Take? 

From the procedure itself to the extensive recovery process—empowers patients to plan and prepare effectively. While the duration varies based on individual factors, a comprehensive comprehension of each phase allows patients to approach the surgery with realistic expectations, facilitating a smoother journey toward restored mobility and improved quality of life. 

We are proud to help each one of our neighbors navigate their healthcare options and make the best possible choices. Each of our doctors and nurses is here for you and would be proud to walk alongside you for years to come. Get in touch with us and see the difference that we can make in your lives.