Getting ready for knee replacement surgery

If you have arthritis or another condition affecting your knee, you and your doctor may have decided that knee replacement surgery is your best treatment option. Like many people, you may find the prospect of surgery a little unnerving. But you can take heart: Joint replacement surgery is a common procedure; more than 600,000 Americans have a knee replaced each year.* And many patients report that their only regret is not having done it sooner.

You play a vital role on your health care team, and steps you take before and after your surgery can help determine the success of your treatment. Use these checklists to get ready.

Prepare your mind

  • Ask your surgeon to explain what kind of prosthesis (artificial joint) you will receive and how it will be put in place. Find out how long it’s expected to last and what you can do to keep it working well.
  • Ask how long you can expect to be in the hospital, when you may be able to return to normal activities and what kind of rehabilitation you will need.
  • Discuss options for anesthesia with your surgeon and anesthesiologist.
  • Find out how your pain will be managed following the surgery.

Prepare your body

Getting in shape in the weeks leading up to your surgery can help reduce the risk of complications and shorten your recovery time.

  • Exercise. Ask your doctor about exercises you can do before surgery to help maintain the strength of your leg muscles. Strengthening your upper body will make it easier to use crutches or a walker during your recovery.
  • If you smoke, quit - or at least cut down. Smoking slows healing and recovery. Your doctor can recommend tools to help you quit. — or at least cut down. Smoking slows healing and recovery. Your doctor can recommend tools to help you quit.
  • Watch your diet and your waistline. Losing excess weight will relieve stress on your new joint. Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet.
  • Visit the dentist. An infection in your new joint can occur if bacteria enter the bloodstream somewhere else in your body, such as from a dental procedure. Therefore, you should arrange to have dental work completed before your surgery.

Prepare your home

Making a few modifications around your home can help keep you safe during your recovery

  • Install safety bars in your shower or bath. A stable bench or chair for the shower is a good idea.
  • Secure handrails along stairways.
  • If you have a low toilet, install a toilet seat riser with arms.
  • Set up a temporary living space on one floor to avoid having to go up or down stairs. It should include a stable chair with arms and a firm seat cushion and back. Find a footstool to elevate your leg.
  • Remove all loose rugs and cords,, and make sure you’ll have enough room to move around with crutches or a walker.
  • Arrange for temporary help with everyday tasks such as cooking, bathing and doing laundry. A social worker at Baptist Beaumont Hospital can help arrange for someone to come to your home, if you don’t have a friend or family member who can help you.

* Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,

We’re ready when you are

The Joint Rejuvenation Center at Baptist Beaumont Hospital invites you to explore the possibilities for reducing your knee pain and getting back to the lifestyle you desire. Visit or call (409) 212-7284 today to explore all the great things we can do.


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