Recovery after a Knee Transplant
There are three key points during recovery after a knee transplant: take good care of the wound, follow a balanced diet and do regular physical activity. We'll tell you everything you need to know.
Knee transplant operations are safe procedures. Generally, they have really great results. However, for the process to be successful, you need to follow the recovery guidelines as strictly as possible.
The recovery after a knee transplant is no mystery. Basically, you need to take care of the wound, take all necessary medications, and do physical activity regularly.
Patients need to be aware that the recovery process depends on how well they follow these steps. You’ll certainly need the support of your family in the home care stage. However, with dedication, you’ll finish the process without any major problems.
Knee transplant surgery
There are several reasons why knees degenerate. Age is the most common factor because the cartilage wears down over the years. Other factors like obesity, high impact sports, or jobs that demand physical strength are also common.
In some cases, there’s a lot of deterioration and patients need a knee transplant. This procedure replaces the most important parts of this joint with artificial ones.
Generally, these surgeries last between two and three hours. After the procedure, you go to recovery. Patients will get a bandage and drain their knee. The next day, doctors will do an x-ray. If everything goes well, they can start putting weight on their foot, which formally starts the recovery process.
Recovery after a knee transplant
Generally, after knee transplant surgery, you need to stay in the hospital for two or three days. Then, you start the rehab phase at home. At this stage, there are three important things you need to do to care for your knee. They are:
- Wound care. The main goal is to prevent infections. To prevent them, you should change the bandage daily and take your prescribed medications. It’s important to prevent the wound from getting too wet.
- Balanced diet. A balanced diet contributes significantly to recovery after a knee transplant. In addition, your doctor may prescribe you food supplements, especially if you are deficient in something.
- Regular physical activity. This is a key element, especially during the first few weeks of recovery. Also, your physical therapist will tell you what exercises you need to do. Recovery time depends largely depends on how consistently and regularly you do the exercises.
Physical therapy is so important. Generally, the program will have you walking, along with specific exercises. You should also go back to your daily activities as soon as possible.
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Other general recommendations
There are lots of things to think about if you want a speedy recovery. The main ones are:
- Have help. The first few days, you’ll need someone to help you with daily activities.
- Take care of the wound. In general, you should keep the wound bandaged until doctors remove the stitches. This happens, almost always, about two weeks after the knee transplant.
- Move your knee. We recommend flexing your knee every 20 minutes and changing your legs’ position. Additionally, don’t put pillows or cushions under the operated knee.
- Discomforts at night. If you feel uncomfortable at night, we recommend standing up and walking a little bit.
- Proper footwear. Make sure you wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes. In fact, this is important for stability so you don’t fall.
- Get dressed sitting down. It’s better to get dressed while sitting down because you won’t be as stable as normal.
- Keep your hands free. When walking, it’s best to not have anything in your hands. You should focus on not falling.
- Using aids. We don’t recommend using walkers, crutches or canes unless your doctor specifically tells you to.
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Warning Signs after a Knee Transplant Surgery
Like all postoperative periods, knee transplant surgeries have some possible risks and complications. These are the main warning signs to watch out for. If you have one or more of them, you should go to the hospital right away. They are:
- The wound is bleeding a lot after surgery.
- Constant and high fever.
- Extreme pain that you can’t control with pain medication.
- Significant inflammation in the knee.
- Change in skin color. Especially watch if it becomes very red, or bluish or blackish.
- Deviation of the knee. Also, the inability to support your foot after falling.