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Thread: I am having knee replacement surgery. Any advice from others?

  1. #1
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    I am having knee replacement surgery. Any advice from others?

    I am having one knee replaced in a few weeks. If any one else has done this, I would appreciate any advice for
    before preparations or what I can expect afterwards. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Member snipforfun's Avatar
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    This may sound strange, but make sure your teeth are healthy. My friend had knee repl. Over a year ago. Many months later an infection in knee showed up. She had to have the replacement removed, spent 3 months in rehab. While there she was taken to the dentist and discovered she had 6 abcesses which may or may not have caused the infection but most likely did. Infection can search around for a vulnerable spot to land. Had all her teeth pulled and got dentures. However there was so much damage they now cannot do another replacement. Earlier this week they put a rod in her leg and she will never again be able to bend it. I cant imagine living like that! A few years ago my husband developed an infection that traveled from his toes up to a large scar from a surgery 5 years before. (nothing to do with his teeth). So, my advice is, see your dentist, have xrays to see if there is anything brewing that could cause you problems on down the line.

  3. #3
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    we had a friend who ended up in the hospital -they thought he had a stroke. He spent a week in the hospital in Bismarck and then got moved to Minn St Paul hospital. He didn't have a stroke they found out because he didn't come out of it. Instead he had an infection in his heart that led to an abcess in his brain. He has been in Minn for 56 days now. he is walking now with a cane and still uses a wheel chair at times. He might get to come home the end of the month. while he was there they removed 2 bad teeth he had in his mouth. they figure that is where the infection came from to start with. so bad teeth are nothing to fool around with.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jeank's Avatar
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    I had both of my knees replaced at the same time in May 2010. I am so glad I did. I never even think of my knees anymore and do anything I want, except kneel. I still do not like the pressure on them.

    I was walking with a cane at 3 weeks, driving myself at 4 weeks. Before surgery, I could not walk. Right leg was bent and bowed out. I used the scooter in Walmart.

    The best advise I can give you is DO EVERYTHING they tell you to do and more. Every exercise!!! If you don't, you will not bounce back and regain flex and extension.

    The only thing they didnt tell me was my skin on the outer side would feel numb after. The nerve gets cut so now it has a funny sensation. I only notice this if my skin is touched like shaving my legs or putting on lotion.

    Some doctors do not like doing both legs at the same time. You have to be in good health otherwise and under 70. I was 68. He told me he would do the right one first in case he had to bail out.
    Jean in MI

  5. #5
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    my hubby had both knees done at the same time. 55 years old and a farmer. It was tough and required a longer recovery. He has not regained the nerves/feeling from the knees down to his toes in either leg. He has to be careful in his occupation to not get hurt. We have gone to specialists in nerve damage- it may someday return but it has been 2 years at this time. His toes can be very sensitive to the sheets on a bed, so forget a quilt! After all of this he would do it again, he has no pain, does walk with a limp, but the surgeries did give him quality of life. By the way, he also had a hip replacement- he can't walk in a store without setting off one of the security alarms..........that I HATE. and he works 3am to 6pm or longer everyday without complaining. Do what your doc says, and water therapy was really helpful for him once you are healed enough to be allowed in a pool.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Joyce Ann's Avatar
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    I had both knees done about 4 years ago. It was the best thing I have ever done for myself. My quality of life is so much better now. I was using a cane for awhile but the most important thing is rehab. You have to work at it but it is worth it. I went for about 4 months. The most amazing thing is after the surgery they get you right up to walk. Good luck to you. I know you will wonder why did'nt I do this sooner.

  7. #7
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    I am a candidate for knee replacements and have said I will not have them done until they find a better way to do them. If you have followed hip replacement improvements the past few years, they are now done with a very small incision and many people go home on day 2 and are back to their normal activities. Surely there are better methods of doing the knees. Find out all you can about the surgeon and what methods he uses...also which devices give the best service to the patient. We need to be our own advocate for any surgery. I needed disk surgery and interviewed 4 doctors before I found one who met my needs. He did 2 surgeries for me (4 years apart) and I had excellent results. Don't settle for a surgeon until you are absolutely certain this Dr. can do the job for you. I think that having both knees done at one time makes a lot of sense. Why go through 2 surgeries.

    Lots of good information is available on the web but "word of mouth" from experienced people is also of great value. You are wise to ask for helpful information from the people on this board.
    Then learn what you need to do to prepare yourself for the surgery. Exercise to increase the strength of the quadricep muscles that support the knees is very important.

    I wish you well in this adventure.
    June in Cincinnati

  8. #8
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    I don't know what your insurance situation is, but if you can get your surgery done by the doctor who would do it for the professional sports teams in Boston, then you know he has already been selected as the best doctor with the latest technique, best equipment, fastest recovery time, best physical therapy teams, etc. The sports teams HAVE to have the very best because of their investment in their players. Whoever you decided to have do it, ask him what is his theory about pain management. Some doctors say that if your body is fighting pain your body cannot also be healing. That's the theory I like.

  9. #9
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I had mine done six years ago and it gave me back my life. Do the physiotherapy as they tell you. The more you do the better use of your knee you will have. Good luck my prayers are with you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SharonTheriault's Avatar
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    I've had both knees replaced, at different times. The advice about making sure there is no infection in your body is good advice. Then doing all the physical therapy and exercising is very good advice too. I can bend my knees farther than I was ever able to before. Good luck and God bless.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member sculpyfan's Avatar
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    I had my right knee replaced almost 2 years ago. I wanted both of them done at the same but luckily my
    Dr. opted not to . Boy was I glad he didn't. I am needing the next one done and will soon. Like everyone says
    do the therapy!! Take your pain meds when you need them. Not to scare you but this was the 2nd hardest
    thing I have ever done!( Hardest was walking 3 months on a broken foot). But it was so worth it!!
    To be able to walk without pain in that leg is wonderful. Good luck.

  12. #12
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    The Dr. wouldn't do both of DH's knees at once but he had them done within a yr of each other. Did great with one and not so good on the other. Bad one first and then changed Dr. Do all of the rehab and every exercise they give you. Walk as much as possible and I'm sure it will be fine. They have come so far with all of this. He's in such better shape now and you'll be grateful you did it.
    Debra

  13. #13
    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    I agree with all the previous posts, I had right knee done 2 1/2 years ago and it is like new. No problems but the most important thing is to do the therapy. I still do some of my exercises because now my hips are bothering me from severe arthiritis in my spine and one hip is out of alignment. Don't know how that happened, I have not had a accident or fall.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

  14. #14
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I had my hip replaced in 2007 but the "class" the dr. held also included knee replacement patients. We had to get a clean bill of health from our primary physicians and any specialists we saw. We also had to go to the dentist and make sure everything was good there. He recommended I shower with an antibacterial soap for two weeks before the procedure. That said, I was out of the hospital and "walking" with a walker about 48 hours after the surgery. I had some discomfort and am allergic to most pain meds, but tylenol worked. It was a life changing surgery. Be sure and do everything they tell you before and after the surgery. Even if it is uncomfortable and even if you don't feel like it. Good luck and keep us posted.

  15. #15
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    DH had a knee replacement done 6 years ago. It was totally life altering since the bad knee was affecting his balance, his walking, everything. As has already been stated--take the pain meds and be absolutely dedicated to your exercises. Do not sluff off just because it hurts. The payback will be enormous. As to dental, DH still needs to take antibiotics before any major dentistry. Don't know how long that goes on or if our Dr. is just super careful. Good luck! I'll be thinking strong positive good operation thoughts in your direction!
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jeank's Avatar
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    Anyone that has had any type of hip or knee or shouler replacement MUST always take an antibodic one hour before any dental work, even cleanings.

    Any germs that get into your bloodstream will go right to the part. This can be prescribed by the dentist or your regular doctor. Many places like walmart or meijers give this medication free.
    Jean in MI

  17. #17
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeank View Post
    Anyone that has had any type of hip or knee or shouler replacement MUST always take an antibodic one hour before any dental work, even cleanings.

    Any germs that get into your bloodstream will go right to the part. This can be prescribed by the dentist or your regular doctor. Many places like walmart or meijers give this medication free.
    this used to be true, and I used to take the antibiotics. then there were new guidelines posted by the various medical associations and both my dentist and cardiologist said they weren't necessary any more except for certain conditions. I've had numerous dental procedures done since my hip replacement without antibiotics and have no problems. As always, check with your doctor for your own conditions.

  18. #18
    Junior Member grandma nurse's Avatar
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    Some doctors or dentist might say that it isn't necessary to take anitbiotics prior to dental procedures, but I will always to it. As I developed a staph infection in one of my knee replacements after a dental procecure. I am a believer in pre anitbiotic. I went through the removal with the cement/anitbiotice spacers for 3 months with IV antibiotic for 7 weeks and oral antibiotic for 6 months. At 3 months I had a new replacement put in.
    One thing I would ask for at home if it is at all possible is a taller toliet. An ADA toliet makes a BIG difference if you are over 5' 5". I have had a total of 5 knee surgeries, 4 on the same knee and 1 on the other. After 2 surgeries I told my family I wouldn't come home until a taller toliet was installed. Makes a big difference.

  19. #19
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    Since I needed both replaced equally as much, I had both done at the same time. It's been six wonderful years ago. My advice: Choose your doctor carefully. This is so important for a good outcome. Do your rehab faithfully, even when you don't feel like it or it hurts terribly--this is essential. The advice about dental health is important, too. Don't become a couch potato. Do what you can, when you can, and push yourself a little but not to excess. I had the traditional surgery done. Now many are choosing the side incision, which has even faster recovery. Only other thing I can think of is sleep positions afterward. For the first few weeks it's hard to sleep on your side (at least, it was for me. Maybe not if you just get one done). Good luck. It will really improve your quality of life and you will be so glad you chose to go for it.

  20. #20
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    Amen to the taller toilet! We had a 6 1/2" taller toilet installed in one bath, it cost more than we liked. In the other bath we had a false floor added under the toilet ending at the front of the toilet. It made the toilet 7 inches high for much less money. Everyone, even our 9 yr old GD likes the taller toilets.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 01-15-2012 at 06:27 PM.

  21. #21
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    Amen to the taller toilet!
    this helps with the hip replacement too.

  22. #22
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    I had one done and will need the other done one day - maybe sooner than I want. The Doctors will give you lots of information, but the thing I advise most is to DO THE PHYSICAL THERAPY religiously! This will make all the difference in the future.

    The other advise is to prepare you home (if you plan to go home right away) so you are comfortable. Remove loose rugs from the area, set up your room for the things you will want to do. TV, magazines, place for phone, drinks, food, books, etc. If you have a 2 story think about making a sleeping area downstairs for a few weeks.

    I took over our den for a month or so and it was great. I put a single bed in there and set up a new home for a bit...I didn't go upstairs except to shower. I put my clothes in a closet downstairs and it made life much easier. If I couldn't sleep I could watch TV or read and not disturb my husband.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeank View Post
    I had both of my knees replaced at the same time in May 2010. I am so glad I did. I never even think of my knees anymore and do anything I want, except kneel. I still do not like the pressure on them.

    I was walking with a cane at 3 weeks, driving myself at 4 weeks. Before surgery, I could not walk. Right leg was bent and bowed out. I used the scooter in Walmart.

    The best advise I can give you is DO EVERYTHING they tell you to do and more. Every exercise!!! If you don't, you will not bounce back and regain flex and extension.

    The only thing they didnt tell me was my skin on the outer side would feel numb after. The nerve gets cut so now it has a funny sensation. I only notice this if my skin is touched like shaving my legs or putting on lotion.

    Some doctors do not like doing both legs at the same time. You have to be in good health otherwise and under 70. I was 68. He told me he would do the right one first in case he had to bail out.



    I also had both of my knees done in 2008. I was back at work right at 6 weeks, slow but was there. I went up and down steps, 4 days after surgury. The important thing is to do your rehab....

  24. #24
    Super Member Rann's Avatar
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    I had both of mine done 3 years ago. The pain the first few days was bad. The PT wasn't bad. You have to remember to take antibiotics before going to the dentist if you have artificial joints.
    If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it.

  25. #25
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    I have had both knees replaced 18 months apart. My advise is the theraphy. I was walking without assist at 4 weeks. But it is very necessary to do the therapy. Good Luck. And remember it is going to be painful but it will be ok in about 3-5 weeks and never have the pain you have now.

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