What You Need to Know About Knee Replacement Surgery

Preparing for Knee Replacement Surgery

Before your knee replacement, your doctor will ask about your medical history and any other current medical conditions you may have, including allergies. Make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you have allergies to latex, iodine, betadine, seafood, soybeans, or any medications, such as penicillin.
Also let your doctor know beforehand if you are currently taking aspirin, blood thinners, pain medicine like Motrin® or Advil®, or any prescription medications. It is always helpful to have a list of your medications with you.
You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least eight hours before your knee replacement, and in certain cases, you may even be required to stay in the hospital the night before surgery.
(Click Preparing for Knee Replacement Surgery for more information.)


Anesthesia is used to eliminate the pain felt during a procedure. For total knee replacement, the anesthesia most commonly used is either spinal or general anesthesia.
With spinal anesthesia, your anesthesiologist will inject medicine into your lower back. You will also receive medicine that makes you feel relaxed or sleepy. Although the spinal anesthesia will take away all sensation of pain, you might still feel some pressure and movement during the total knee replacement surgery.
The other option is general anesthesia. This uses medication to put you into a deep sleep so that you are not aware of any pain, pressure, or movement during the total knee replacement surgery.
In order to do this, you will first be asked to breathe through an oxygen mask. Then you will be given medications through your IV, which will cause you to feel pleasantly relaxed, and you will slowly drift off to sleep. After you are sound asleep, a breathing tube will be placed into your windpipe to assist with your breathing throughout the surgery.
(Click Total Knee Replacement Anesthesia for more information on this topic.)
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