7 Things To Do Before Your Private Total Knee Replacement
Planning early and thinking ahead about how a private total knee replacement will affect your life and stress level will help you manage the recovery. We offer 7 tips for you to consider.
Exercise your leg muscles and try to get in better shape physically – start about 2 to 3 months prior to surgery
If you are considered a good candidate for a private knee replacement by your orthopedic surgeon, he or she may advise an exercise program before surgery. Due to pain and limited mobility, the strength of your muscles declines. Your successful recovery depends on your general health and the strength of your muscles pre-op. Although the reason you probably stopped using those muscles was due to pain, you can schedule a visit with a physiotherapist to talk about how to carry out an exercise plan.
It is not good for your general health period but will also hinder the recovery, not to mention an increased risk of heart attack, DVT or stroke. Smoking decreases your blood flow. This can slow the healing process making you more vulnerable to infection and circulatory problems.*Note that some surgeons require you to demonstrate a negative urine test before your surgery is scheduled.
Hold off in having another cortisone injection.
Research has shown that there is an increased risk of infection when someone recently had a cortisone injection and then proceeds for their surgery. Most doctors like to wait at least 3 months to do the surgery for this reason, however, we have known some that will proceed after 1 month. Talk to your doctor prior to having an injection if you are considering surgery.
Talk to your doctor about what is required prior to your surgery such as blood tests or what medications you can continue taking.
Before the doctor schedules your surgery date you will likely need pre-operative tests such as an EKG or current blood work. These are essential so the anesnthesiologist can clear you as being fit for surgery. Most blood tests and EKG’s are valid to use within a 3 month period. If you are having your surgery privately, these can be ordered through your GP and done locally.
Your doctor will also have a conversation with you about your current medications and whether you can continue taking them, for example, blood thinners. An appointment with an anesthesiologist will be set up to discuss all of this prior to your surgery. Some doctors have you start certain medications such as an antibiotic or pain management prior to your surgery as well.
Prepare your home for recovery
If you live by yourself ask a friend or a relative to stay with you or stay at their place for a week after you come back from the hospital. You will not be able to drive for about 6 weeks. You will need a responsible adult to drive you home and stay with you for 24-48 hours after your surgery. Hiring an Uber driver or taxi is not allowed and you will not be released otherwise, especially if you traveling for your surgery. A travel companion is required.
It is preferred to stay on one level without having to climb stairs. Clear out your hallways so that you can move around freely. Get some things to make yourself more comfortable: raised toilet seat, stable shower bench or chair for bathing, long-handled sponge or shower hose, a grabber to reach for things, slip on shoes, bed rails if needed, walker/crutches/cane. Some of these can be rented at no charge from your local Red Cross. Make sure you book early, as availability may differ. Ensure you have a sufficient amount of frozen meals or have someone prepare your meals for the first week after the procedure.
Rent an ice cooling device such as Ossur Cold Rush or Kodiak Cold Therapy for a month if you are able to afford one.
Have cold packs and ice packs in the freezer if you are not able to get the cooling device. Cooling your knee after the operation will help you manage the pain and increase your comfort level post-surgery. This encourages you to move around and speed up the recovery.
You will be given a detailed list of “the day before” and “the morning of” instructions to follow. Ensure you follow them precisely.
You will be given a set of instructions to prepare you for the day before surgery and the morning of. It is essential you follow these instructions as directed to ensure a safe surgery and to make sure you’ve brought with you necessary items if traveling for surgery.
If you get sick with the flu, cold or fever shortly before, be prepared to reschedule the surgery until you recover.
Arrange for physiotherapy before you have the surgery and follow through with it after.
You will probably have a couple of sessions with physiotherapist while you are still in the hospital. To ensure your successful recovery, you have to do exercises to strengthen your new knee. Call around to find a physiotherapist who specializes in therapy after joint replacement. Your provincial health care plan or supplemental insurance may cover some of the cost.
You may be put on a blood thinner to prevent blood clotting post-surgery. If you are traveling for a private knee replacement, keep in mind the possibility of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) increases dramatically if your flight is over 4 hours. Your doctor may also ask you to wear TED (Thrombo-Embolic Deterrent).
Health Vantis offers private total knee replacements at facilities that are 4 hours or less away from your home to ensure that you are not taking on more risks. We can also take care of finding and arranging the physiotherapy after your surgery. That is part of our white glove service to all of our clients.
*This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.