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Total knee replacement

​​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Knee replac​ement surgery is the most common treatment for advanced arthritis of the knee, with more than 600,000 procedures performed in the United States each year. 

A Marshfield Clinic Orthopedic doctor recommends a knee replacement if a person experiences stiffness or pain in his or her knee joint that can’t be relieved by medication. What’s more, a candidate for surgery finds walking even short distances difficult.

More information on the knee replacement procedure​

During a knee replacement, a surgeon will remove just enough of the damaged cartilage and bone to replace the weight bearing surfaces with a new metal and plastic joint surface to restore the alignment and function of the knee.

Before Surgery

Total joint replacement – bring your total joint replacement binder with you on the day of surgery.

Enlist a coach - your coach will provide emotional and physical support along with transportation on the day of discharge and for your follow-up appointments.

Pre-surgery exercises - start your pre-operative exercises. They are very important to do and can aid in a quicker recovery after surgery.

Dental needs - visit your dentist six months or less before surgery.

Report the following - report any infections or open cuts 24 – 48 hours before surgery day.

Medical leave papers - bring your medical leave papers to Orthopedics at least one month before your surgery date so they can be completed before your surgery.

Medications - stop the following medications 3 – 10 days before surgery unless told otherwise during your pre-operative physical exam:

  • Aspirin
  • Anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • Fish oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Coumadin
  • Plavix

Skin prep before surgery - shower or take bath with the CHG soap that was provided. Use this soap the evening before surgery and the day of surgery.

Prescription medication instructions - if you are instructed to take Coumadin, the evening before surgery, do so following your surgeon's instructions.

Eating and drinking restrictions:

  • Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
  • The morning of surgery take your medications with only sips of water.

After Surgery

How to recognize and prevent complications.

Infection signs:

  • Increased swelling and bright redness in the surgical area
  • Change in color, amount, or odor of drainage
  • Increased pain in surgical area
  • Fever greater than 102°F - take your temperature

Symptoms of a blood clot

Blood clots can be in your leg or arm:

  • Swelling in thigh, calf, ankle, arm, hand or shoulder that does not go down with elevation.
  • Pain, heat, and tenderness in calf, back of knee, or groin area.

How to prevent a blood clot:

  • Ankle pumps
  • Walk
  • Exercise hands or arms
  • Take prescribed blood thinners

Pulmonary embolus (blood clot in lungs)

A blood clot in your lung is an emergency. Go to the emergency room or call 911 if a blood clot is suspected.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolus:

  • Sudden chest pain or chest discomfort
  • Difficult and/or rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Confusion

Prevent a pulmonary embolus (blood clot):​

  • Ankle pumps
  • Walk
  • Take prescribed blood thinners
Request Appointment

Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

 Comfort & Recovery Suites

Your procedure may qualify for a stay in a Comfort and Recovery Suite. Ask your doctor for more details.

Comfort & Recovery Suite Locations

Questions and Answers (PDF)

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 Knee replacement

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