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Knee & Hip Problems Message Board

Knee & Hip Problems Board Index

While your Dad is still in the hospital post-surgery, encourage him all you can, to do everything the surgeon and physical therapists tell him to - exercises in bed and walking with walker as far as is tolerable the first couple of days post surgery. Very important for him to get that prosthetic moving as quickly as possible to increase range of motion. Whether your dad goes to a rehab inpatient facility after the hospital or straight home, just keep motivating him to work at the rehab. Trust me, it DOES get better as long as he does everything he's asked to in order to have a great outcome.

I had my right knee total replacement in April of 2011 and 4 months later, my range of motion was 135 - 140 degrees and the majority of the post-surgery soreness was gone. I ditched my cane in mid-August and only have mild, occasional soreness in the muscles surrounding the prosthetic knee. That should be gone by my one year mark in April. (I had a left knee arthroscope during the same surgery due to a meniscal tear, and will need that knee replaced in about another year or so.)

His surgeon will tell him and you (his family) what limitations with normal activities he will have post-surgery and for how long. NO DRIVING for six weeks post-surgery, especially if it's his driving leg. (and even if it's the other leg, he may not be able to drive either. The concern would be if he had to brake suddenly, the new knee could get damaged by hitting the dashboard. The surgeon would be concerned about reaction time.) Other restrictions include no climbing of ladders and no more weight lifted than 10 or 15 lbs at a time. I only had MY weight lift restriction increased to 50 lbs in October.

When your dad sleeps the first six weeks post surgery, it will have to be on his back with the leg absolutely straight and a towel under his ankle (NOT the knee). The reason for this is that they don't want the prosthetic knee to lock up and heal in the bent position. If that happens, the surgeon would have to go back in and straighten out the prosthesis. (Immediately post-surgery, his new knee will be placed in a continuous passive motion - CPM machine that will gently bend and straighten the knee while he's in bed. They usually just do that while he's sleeping or just lying in bed.) The day after surgery, they will get him both up in a chair and on a walker.

As far as the surgery itself, have your dad ask for a spinal with sedation as far as anesthesia. It's just safer than general anesthesia and believe me, he won't feel them working on the knee. Also, I note that you say both knees are bad. Your dad should try NOT to have both done at the same time. Not generally recommended because there's more chance for complications that way. Have him get the second replacement done at least six months to a year later depending on how well the first surgery and rehab goes. (I have two relatives who had to have both done at the same time and had major complications because of it. An aunt who had both done a month after me, is now having such problems with swelling and inflammation that I think she didn't have a very good surgeon performing the procedure. And she had hers done at a hospital in NYC where MY orthopedic surgeon has privileges. He's one of the top knee and hip replacement surgeons in the country and if he had done my aunt's surgery, I don't think she'd be having these problems! Besides, he might not have agreed to do both of her knees during the same surgery which would have lessened her chances for the complications she's experiencing now!)

If your dad is generally in good health otherwise, complete recovery should take about a year.

I hope all of this advice helps. Good luck to your dad. I know he'll do well!

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