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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Total Knee ReplacementReemplazo total de la rodilla

Total Knee Replacement

During total knee replacement surgery, your damaged knee joint is replaced with an artificial joint (called a prosthesis). This surgery almost always reduces joint pain and improves your quality of life.

Image of prosthesis
The parts of the prosthesis are secured to the bones of the knee. Together they form the new joint.

Before Your Surgery

You will most likely arrive at the hospital on the morning of the surgery. Be sure to follow all of your doctor's instructions on preparing for surgery.

  • You should stop eating or drinking 10 hours before surgery.

  • If you take a daily medication, ask if you should still take it the morning of surgery.

  • At the hospital, your temperature, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure will be checked.

  • An IV (intravenous) line may be started to provide fluids and medications needed during surgery.

The Surgical Procedure

When the surgical team is ready, you'll be taken to the operating room. There you'll be given anesthesia to help you sleep through surgery, or to make you numb from the waist down. Then an incision is made on the front or side of your knee. Any damaged bone is cleaned away, and the new joint is put into place. The incision is closed with surgical staples or stitches.

When to Call Your Doctor

Once at home, call your doctor if you have any of the symptoms below:

  • An increase in knee pain

  • Pain or swelling in a calf or leg

  • Unusual redness, heat, or drainage at the incision site

  • Fever of 101.0°F or higher

  • Trouble breathing or chest pain (call 911)

After Your Surgery

After surgery, you'll be sent to the PACU (postanesthesia care unit). When you are fully awake, you'll be moved to your room. The nurses will give you medications to ease your pain. You may have a catheter (small tube) in your bladder. A CPM (continuous passive motion) machine may be used on your knee to keep it from getting stiff. An SCM (sequential compression machine) may be used to prevent blood clots by gently squeezing then releasing your leg. Soon, healthcare providers will help you get up and moving.

Publication Source: Center for Hip and Knee Replacement - Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia University

Publication Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Online Source: Center for Hip and Knee Replacement - Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Columbia University

Online Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2007-10-23T00:00:00-06:00

Experience optimal physical therapy techniques and compassionate patient care at Benton Franklin Orthopedic Associates and Benton Franklin Physical Therapy. Call us today at 509.586.2828 to schedule an appointment or use our online Request an Appointment form.

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