Knee Replacement Recovery

Your recovery from knee replacement surgery begins in the hospital and may continue for several months after the surgery. A continuous passive motion machine may be used to help improve your knee's range of motion as you recover. Pain medication may also be prescribed. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process, and can take place in a facility or your home.

Beginning Your Recovery From Total Knee Replacement

After your knee replacement surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room. In this room, you will be with other post-operative patients, and healthcare providers will be available to assist you with any problems or concerns you may have. You will be kept here until your healthcare providers feel that you are recovering well -- usually, this is within one to two hours.
As you wake up, you may become aware of the catheter in your bladder, and you may notice that some blood has collected in the plastic container outside your skin. Tight stockings may be placed on your feet and legs to help prevent blood clots.
It is common to feel some pain in your knee. Pain medicine can be given to help relieve this. It is also common to shiver after receiving general anesthesia. If this happens, your healthcare providers can give you medication that will stop the shivering. Warm blankets are also available to comfort you.
Some patients experience nausea after their knee replacement surgery, which can be related to the medications used. This should not last long, but can take up to 24 hours to resolve completely.
Remember that your healthcare provider wants you to recover without any problems. So be sure to report anything that does not feel normal or "right."

Using a CPM Machine

Either in the recovery room or in your assigned hospital room, a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine may be placed on your leg. This machine will slowly move your knee a certain amount each day to improve your knee's range of motion. The amount your knee is moved will be increased with time. Depending on your situation, arrangements may be made for a CPM machine to be delivered to your home. You will use this machine six hours a day for one to two weeks, until you achieve a certain degree of bending, which will be determined by your doctor.
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Total Knee Replacement

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