Prior to the Surgery
Insurance (including Medicare) will, barring a few exceptions, cover most of the cost of knee replacement. Out-of-pocket expenses do vary, so please check your individual insurance coverage. We accept most insurance plans.
Once you and your doctor decide that a personalized knee implant is the right treatment option, you will be sent for a CT scan, your surgery will be scheduled and your very own customized implant will be designed. It takes 8 weeks from the time of your CT scan to design and manufacture the implant and instrumentation, so procedures are commonly scheduled shortly after the expected customized implant arrival date.
The Day of Surgery
Knee surgery is a very common procedure. A total knee replacement can take 60-90 minutes to complete.
After you have been admitted, but before the surgery begins, you will receive an IV (intravenous) line that is used to administer antibiotics and anesthesia. The actual surgery involves a thin incision on the knee that helps the surgeon gain access to the affected compartment(s). Your surgeon will place your personalized surgical instrumentation on your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) in order to make the required bone cuts. Your customized implants are then cemented to your bones and the incision is closed.
Following surgery you may not have the full leg control required to work the gas and brake pedals. As a safety precaution, your surgeon may recommend that you not drive for a few days.
Your return to work will be dependent on your job requirements and endurance. Typically, patients return to office work in 2-3 weeks; jobs that require longer periods of standing may require longer periods of time.
As your anesthesia wears off a nurse will be there to assist you and provide pain medications. Once you are fully awake you will be taken to your hospital room. Your knee will remain swollen and tender for a few days. After you have returned to your hospital room the primary goal is to get you mobile. A nurse will assist you with moving your knee, standing and eventually walking.
Every case is different, but you should expect to feel significant pain relief within a week. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s recommendations for pain medication and physical therapy.
You should be able to walk, as tolerated, a few hours after surgery. You may be provided with a knee brace and/or aids such as crutches or a walker to assist you.
Your surgeon will determine whether or not you will need to wear a brace. If you do, you will likely wear your brace for two weeks or less, depending upon your surgeon’s recommended weight-bearing protocol.
Your surgeon may prescribe medication to control pain after surgery and/or coated aspirin to prevent blood clots. It is important that you consult with your physician before taking any non-prescribed medications.
Following surgery, it is important to keep your incision covered with a clean dressing. Your surgeon will recommend that you use caution while bathing to keep your incision dry. Waterproof bandages are recommended. Be sure to contact your surgeon if you notice any changes in the incision such as swelling or drainage during the recovery period.
Immediately after your procedure, you may have a low grade fever (up to 101°). It is important to contact your doctor if your temperature elevates above 101° or lasts longer than one week.
For some patients, physical therapy is not required. Your surgeon can best determine whether or not this is appropriate for you. In all cases, an immediate postoperative recovery will focus on protecting the knee, minimizing discomfort and ensuring early return to motion. After that, your surgeon will prescribe a set of simple exercises to aid in recovery and strengthen your knee.