Preparing for knee replacement surgery

Knee replacement surgery is one of the most successful operations that leads to a terrific outcome for most patients. You and your surgeon will work together to make your surgery and recovery a success. While your surgeon is preparing everything for surgery there are a few things you can do as a patient to aid in your recovery:


· Good hygiene is important before surgery. Make sure to clean the entire leg from groin to toe. Many body parts like the arm pit, groin, nose and nails normally harbor bacteria. This bacteria can sometimes contribute to a surgical site infection after knee replacement.


· You should keep your leg muscles as strong as possible before surgery. Simple home exercises like quadriceps and hamstring strengthening can be very helpful. The better your flexibility before knee replacement surgery is usually correlated with good flexibility after surgery. Practice keeping your knee as straight as you can and then bend as deep as you can.


· Try to prepare your home before surgery so it is ready when you come home to recover. Support rails along the stairs and a clear path from the bed to the bathroom is important to prevent trip and fall injuries.


· Driving can be a major limiting factor after knee replacement surgery. Your reflexes are not ready for safe driving for up to a month after surgery. Some patients can drive sooner if they are not limited by pain and are not taking any narcotics. It is a good idea before surgery to plan for a ride.


· Cooking and cleaning can be difficult in the first two weeks of recovery. Having a family member come and help or coordinating ahead of time with a meal delivery service such as meals on wheels should be considered.

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