Top of the page
A total knee replacement replaces the worn ends of the bones where they meet at the knee. Those bones are the thigh bone (femur) and the lower leg bone (tibia). Your doctor will remove the damaged bone. Then he or she will replace it with plastic and metal parts. These new parts may be attached to your bones with cement.
Your doctor will make a cut down the centre of your knee. This cut is called an incision. It will be about 20 to 25 centimetres long. Sometimes the surgery can be done with a smaller incision that is 10 to 15 centimetres. Both kinds of incisions leave scars that usually fade with time.
Your doctor will let you know if you will stay in the hospital or if you can go home the day of surgery. If you have both knees done at the same time, you may need to be in the hospital for a few days. If you need more extensive rehab, you may go to a specialized rehab centre for more treatment.
Most people go back to normal activities or work in 4 to 16 weeks. This depends on your health. It also depends on how well your knee does in your rehab program. This may take longer if you have both knees done at the same time.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter F652 in the search box to learn more about "Total Knee Replacement: Before Your Surgery".
Current as of: June 26, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & David Bardana MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.