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Before Your Knee Surgery

Leading Up To Your Surgery

Please note any current medical conditions and medications, past medical and surgical history, and allergies. All blood work should be done three weeks before surgery to allow for ample time for your PCP, surgeon, and anesthesiologist to review. This is required to be done within 30 days of the procedure.

Two weeks before surgery, you will meet with Dr. Kuesis to review and discuss the process. 

In the week leading up to your surgery, there are a few important things to remember:

  • • No eating or drinking eight hours before surgery
  • • Do not take blood-thinning medications such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, or blood-thinning products like Aspirin, Coumadin, etc. (any blood thinner prescribed by a doctor must get instructions on when how to stop/resume).
  • • You should arrange for transportation post-surgery

You can access all necessary forms here, including further instructions and a patient checklist.

How is Knee Surgery Performed

Knee surgery is a common major surgery that is performed on over 600,000 people worldwide each year.

During the procedure, the damaged bone and cartilage of the knee joint is surgically removed and replaced with artificial implants. The implants are made of a smooth and strong material that eliminates the painful bone-on-bone contact of the damaged natural knee joint.

Almost all knee replacement implants consist of four components:

  • The tibial (shin) components:
    • Contains two different components that will replace the top of the shin bone. It consists of a metal tray attached directly to the bone and a plastic spacer to provide the lower half of the new joint’s bearing surface.
  • The femoral (thigh bone) component:
    • A single component that will replace the bottom of the thigh bone. It also provides the top half of the new joint’s bearing surface and sits in the groove of the kneecap for support.
  • The patellar (kneecap) component:
    • This component replaces the kneecap to protect the joint as it rubs against the femur.

*Safety Note: Knee replacement surgery is intended to relieve knee pain and improve knee functions. However, implants may not produce the same feel or function as your original knee. There are potential risks with knee replacement surgery, such as loosening, fracture, dislocation, wear, and infection, that may result in the need for additional surgery. The longevity of implants depends on many factors, such as types of activities and weight. Do not perform high-impact activities such as running and jumping unless your surgeon tells you the bone has healed and these activities are acceptable. Early device failure, breakage or loosening may occur if you do not follow your surgeon’s limitations on activity level. Early failure can happen if you do not guard your knee joint against overloading due to activity level, failure to control body weight, or accidents such as falls. Talk to your doctor to determine what treatment may be best for you.

Preoperative Procedures

Please note any current medical conditions and medications, past medical and surgical history, and allergies. All blood work should be done three weeks before surgery to allow for ample time for your PCP, Surgeon, and anesthesiologist to review. This is required to be done within 30 days of the procedure.

Two weeks before surgery, you will meet with Dr. Kuesis to review and discuss the process. 

In the week leading up to your surgery, there are a few important things to remember:

  • • No eating or drinking eight hours before surgery
  • • Do not take blood-thinning medications such as Advil, Aleve, Motrin, or blood-thinning products like Aspirin, Coumadin, etc. (any blood thinner prescribed by a doctor must get instructions on when how to stop/resume).
  • • You should arrange for transportation post-surgery

You can access all necessary forms here, including further instructions and a patient checklist.

Preventing Complications

For the most part, knee replacement surgery is extremely safe and effective — in fact, the surgeons at CORE Orthopedics and Sports Medicine have performed most knee replacement surgeries without complications. However, it’s important to remember that we are talking about major surgery, and complications can occur in a small percentage of patients.

Educating yourself is the first step in proper preparation to prevent complications — check out the below list of potential issues you may face and the steps you can take to minimize their occurrence:

Thrombophlebitis

  • Occurs when large veins of the leg form blood clots
  • • In some instances, these clots become lodged in the capillaries of the lung and cause pulmonary embolism
  • Also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Preventative measures include blood-thinning medication (anticoagulants), elastic stockings, and foot/ankle exercises that increase blood flow in the leg
  • Compression stockings

Infection

Even when great care is taken to prevent infections before, during, and after surgery, they sometimes still occur in a small percentage of patients. Symptoms include pain or stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness around the wound, foul odor, increased drainage, fever, and fatigue.

*Make sure to report any of these immediately to your doctor

To prevent infection, take antibiotics as directed, complete the recommended dosage duration, and strictly follow the incision care guidelines your surgeon recommends

Pneumonia

Can be caused during surgery as a result of the anesthesia, which makes your lungs “lazy” and leads to secretion buildup at the base of your lungs. Preventative measures include practicing deep breathing exercises and using an incentive spirometer for visual feedback while you breathe.

Knee stiffness

After surgery, your knee mobility might be restricted to the point where you develop a contracture in the joint. Symptoms of a contracture include significant stiffness during walking or other daily activities you may perform.

To prevent knee stiffness and maximize your range of motion you should:

  • Begin your physical therapy program early (day one or two) to start working on your range of motion exercises
  • Use ice, compression stockings, and elevation to control edema and reduce swelling
  • Control pain adequately so you can tolerate the rehabilitation regime

IMPORTANT: This information is not intended to replace medical advice. Make sure you discuss proper preventative care plans with your physician. As always, if you develop swelling, redness, pain, and/or tenderness in the calf muscle after surgery, report these symptoms to your orthopedic surgeon or internist immediately.

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