Frequently Asked Questions

Knee Replacement FAQ
What is arthritis and why does my knee hurt?

Your knee joint contains a layer of smooth cartilage on the lower end of the thigh bone (femur) and the upper end of the shinbone (tibia) and the undersurface of the kneecap (patella).  Cartilage acts as a pillow that cushions your knee and allows for its smooth motion.

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What is a total knee replacement and why do I need one?

A total knee replacement replaces the worn cartilage with an artificial surface.  Arthritis wears away your natural cartilage and the pain comes from bone rubbing against bone with no cartilage to protect it. Result: pain, swelling and stiffness.

The knee isn’t really replaced.  The artificial cartilage now becomes the cushion that gives your knee smooth motion.

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What are the results of total knee replacement?

Knee replacement surgery enjoys a high rate of success in eliminating pain and restoring your range of motion. The operation has a high rate of success:  90% to 95%.

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When should I have knee replacement surgery?

Your surgeon will decide if you’re a candidate for knee replacement surgery.  This decision will be based on your history, x-rays and response to conservative treatment.  You’re never too old for knee replacement if you’re an active person who wants to lead a productive life.  Active people in their 90s have enjoyed successful knee replacement.

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What are the major risks?

ANSWER: Most surgeries go smoothly – no complications.  But the two serious risks are:

  • Infection
  • Blood clots

To avoid infection, use the antiseptic wash that is given to you prior to surgery. Also proper hand washing is essential. Antibiotics are given before and after surgery to reduce the risk of infection. 

Blood thinners will be given to you postoperatively to prevent blood clots. Special compression devices are used in the hospital to reduce the risk of blood clots as well.

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Should I exercise before surgery?

Definitely.  Discuss pre- and post-operative physical therapy options with your surgeon, but exercises should begin as soon as possible.

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Will I have pain after surgery?

Yes, but your pain will be managed with appropriate medications. Immediately following your surgery, you will have an epidural to reduce the pain in your leg. The day after surgery you will be switched to pain pills and the epidural will be discontinued. Our caring staff will continue to monitor your pain level and manage you pain with medications and other therapeutic measures to maintain your comfort throughout your hospital experience.

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How long will I be in the hospital?

Most knee replacement patients can count on two to three days in the hospital after surgery. Many patients go directly home after surgery. Our team will design a rehabilitation plan that is designed to fit your specific needs.

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