WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE AND AFTER KNEE SURGERY
The team at Phoenix Spine and Joint wants you to know exactly what to expect during your patient experience. For patients undergoing one of our minimally invasive knee procedures, we’ve prepared the following detailed checklist for your pre- and postoperative timeline.
Getting ready for your visit — your preoperative checklist
You’ll be given instructions from a member of our team on preparations to make before coming in for your preoperative appointments. Before coming for your procedures, follow these steps:
- Stop smoking at least two weeks before surgery.
- Stop blood thinners or any other directed medication as instructed.
- Make arrangements for the night after surgery, either to stay at your own home or a hotel room, depending on your proximity to the surgery center.
- Make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility.
- Follow directions for eating and drinking the night before and the morning of your procedure.
- The morning of surgery, take a shower or bath using the chlorhexidine gluconate 4% detailed in your preoperative guide, soap and a washcloth, being sure to focus on the part of the body that will be operated on.
We understand the preoperative period can be a somewhat stressful time. This is why we’ll be here to help you prepare and answer any questions or concerns you have.
The first hours, days and weeks after your knee procedure will be crucial to the healing and recovery process. It is essential to closely follow your postoperative instructions that are provided to you.
First one to two days after minimally invasive knee surgery
- Immediate recovery from surgery, including having staff check your vitals and assess your condition.
- Receive written postoperative instructions for medication, wound care and movement.
- Receive crutches, walker or any other movement aid if necessary.
- Attend any postoperative appointments and checkups.
- Do not drive or make any big life decisions.
First week after surgery
Upon discharge and after your initial postoperative appointments, continue to monitor the incision and slowly start to return to normal activities by following the instructions provided by your surgeon and support staff. Each patient is different, but these are some of the typical guidelines you may expect.
- Take your pain medication and any other prescriptions as directed.
- Do not drive or consume alcohol while taking pain medications or muscle relaxers.
- Pain medications often cause constipation. Do not go more than 48 hours without a bowel movement.
Returning to normal movement
- If it hurts, don’t do it!
- Limit any activity that adds weight or stress to the knee.
- Avoid staying in one position for long periods of time.
- Do not lift more than five pounds. Lift only as tolerated.
Caring for your incision and managing pain
- Your incision is closed with medical-grade “glue.” Let the glue fall off by itself in a couple of days. Don’t pick it off. You may have a small amount of drainage from your incision; this is normal.
- You may bathe or swim the day after surgery if you wish. When the bandage falls off, you can leave it off. No dressing is needed, unless you want to keep the glue from catching on your clothing.
- Ice the area by placing ice on the incision site for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
- Please call the office if you are concerned that something is not going according to plan.
- You can reach out to either your care specialist or our director of nursing with the number provided in your postoperative instructions. We would rather you call 100 times too many than one time too few.
Don’t forget to share your progress on Phoenix Spine and Joint’s social media pages. Send us a picture of you ditching your crutches or walker and use the hashtags #Ditchthewalker #Ditchthecrutches #MyRecovery #PhxSpine.
Week two after surgery
After the first week of your recovery, you will probably feel some pain around the incision site and potentially some remaining nerve pain and tingling. This is normal, and the pain will improve with time. It may take up to six months for your body to heal completely.
- Continue to take any medications as directed, and ice the area regularly.
- You can resume driving when you are off medications and have been cleared by a doctor.
- Schedule a follow-up appointment to have your incision checked, preferably two weeks from the date of surgery.
- Attempt to walk three to four times daily, no more than 20 minutes each or as tolerated.
- Perform any recovery exercises given to you by your doctor or physical therapist as directed.
- Stop any activity at the first sign of pain.
- Do not lift more than 10 to 15 pounds.
Week three and beyond
There’s a chance you may still feel some soreness, either when sitting still or performing certain tasks. As you improve and start to regain functionality, it is important to make sure that you are not pushing your body too hard.
- Attend your three-week postoperative appointment.
- Keep taking regular daily walks as tolerated.
- Continue to perform rehabilitation exercises as directed, while listening to your body and not overexerting yourself.
- Start making preparation to return to work depending on your surgeon or physician’s clearance, type of surgery performed and other considerations.
- Using proper posture and mechanics, you can slowly begin to resume normal activities.
Don’t forget to continue updating us on your progress via social media channels. Share your pictures and use these tags: #Ditchthewalker #Ditchthecrutches #MyRecovery #PhxSpine.
We’re here to help on your journey to relief. If you have any questions or concerns at all, please contact us at any time during your recovery process.