Posts Tagged ‘knee replacement surgery rehab’

Takeaways from the Live Chat on Hip and Knee Replacement

joint-replacement260x200Are you or someone you know considering hip or knee replacement after living with pain for an extended time? Whether you have just begun exploring treatment options or have decided to undergo hip or knee replacement surgery, we answered some questions that may be helpful about the procedure and recovery time.

Thank you to everyone who participated in our live chat on Tuesday, December 13 at 12 PM EST with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Bradbury of Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center where he answered questions about hip and knee replacements, new treatment options, recovery and more. We received a lot of great questions, and below are some of the highlights from this live chat. Read the full chat transcript here.


Question: Will I need physical therapy about a knee replacement?

Dr. Bradbury: Yes, physical therapy is much more important after knee replacement than after hip replacement. In general, the physical therapist will first help you achieve range of motion and then work on strengthening. Most people require supervised physical therapy for several weeks after surgery. After that point, they can do many of the exercises on their own.

Question: How soon will I be able to walk after a hip replacement?

Dr. Bradbury: Our goal is to have you walking within 3 hours of surgery. Early mobilization after hip replacement surgery is helpful to avoid complications like blood clots in the leg or in the lung. In general, a physical therapist will help you get out of bed and walk for the first several times. Once you demonstrate safety when walking with the therapist, you will be able to walk on your own. Most people require crutches or a walker for a period of time after surgery. Once you feel confident, you can begin walking without an assistive device.

Question: Are there different types of knee replacements?

Dr. Bradbury: Yes. Just like with cars, there are hundreds of different models. Your surgeon can explain the pros and cons of different types of replacement systems. However, the surgical technique used to implant the device is more important than the device itself.


Thank you again too all of our participants! View the full chat transcript and learn more about hip and knee replacements below.



Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee SurgeryThe knee is a hinge joint which provides motion at the point where the thigh meets the lower leg. Your knee can become damaged by osteoarthritis resulting from wear and tear over time, by rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or by injury/trauma to the knee. Rest, medication, and therapy are the first lines of treatment, but knee replacement surgery — also known as knee arthroplasty — can help relieve pain and restore knee function for those whose cartilage is too damaged to respond to conservative measures. Although surgery always comes with risks, knee replacement surgery continues to be one of the most predictably successful of all major operations done for any problem. It is however a major surgery and should only be considered when other nonsurgical options are not adequate.

Knee Replacement Procedure

In general, knee replacement surgery consists of replacing the diseased or damaged joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee. Knee replacement would be more accurately called knee resurfacing in that only the surface of the femur and tibia are removed and then capped by metal. The ends of the bone are precisely shaped to exactly match the shape of the artificial components. These artificial components mimic the shape of the normal bone. A highly wear resistant plastic insert is placed as the cushion between the two metal components. Usually a total knee replacement also involves capping the surface of your knee cap (patella) with polyethylene. A good result from the operation is very dependent on the accuracy of contouring of bone and placement of components.

What to Expect From Knee Surgery

Recent improvements in materials and techniques have made total knee replacement a common and highly successful surgery, with around 300,000 being performed every year in the U.S alone. The vast majority of people who undergo knee joint replacement surgery have dramatic improvement in pain and range of motion. Approximately 95% of patients after recovering from knee replacement report enough improvement that they would repeat the decision to have surgery. In addition to routing life activities, such activities as walking, cycling, dancing, golf and tennis are comfortable for the majority of patients.

Knee Surgery Rehabilitation

Post-operative hospitalization averages 1 to 3 nights, depending on the health status of the patient. Most people require crutches or a walker for 1 to 3 weeks and a cane for 1 to 3 weeks after that. The average need to see a physical therapist is for 4 to 6 weeks and the time to a better knee overall than before surgery for most patients is about 4 to 6 weeks. Time to safely driving a car is typically 2 to 4 weeks and average time off work is also approximately 4 weeks.

About Dr. Roberson

James Roberson, MDJames Roberson, MD is professor and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics at Emory. He specializes in total joint replacement of the hip and knee. Dr. Roberson completed his residency training at Emory University followed by a fellowship at Mayo Clinic. He has been practicing at Emory since 1982.

Related Resources

Total Knee Replacement
Revision of Total Knee Replacement
Unicompartmental Knee Replacement