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Having a Knee Replacement

Before your surgery

There are many things to prepare while you wait for surgery and just before surgery. The helpful tips below tell you what to do to be ready.

You can also see the following resources. And remember to alw​ays follow the instructions from your healthcare team:

Ask questions

Write down your questions and be sure you understand:

  • why you’re having surgery
  • what’s going to happen during your surgery
  • the benefits and risks of surgery
  • what you’re agreeing to when you sign the consent form for surgery

Talk with your healthcare team about your medicines

Your healthcare team will tell you which medicines to stop taking before your surgery.

Tell your healthcare team if:

  • you’re allergic to any medicine, latex, or metals
  • there’s a change to your medicines (such as your dose changes or you start a new medicine)
  • your health changes
  • you take any pain medicine and what type you take

Eat healthy foods

Healthy eating before surgery will help you:

  • lower the chance of getting sick, which can delay your surgery
  • build up iron in your blood to give you more energy and help you heal faster
  • reach and stay at a healthy weight

You can use Canada’s food guide to help you choose what and how much food you need for good health. You can also talk to your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian.

Look after health problems

Before surgery, it’s important to look after any health problems, especially problems with your teeth, eyes, bladder, and prostate (if you have one).

  • Fill your prescriptions and take them as prescribed.
  • Get your teeth cleaned and have any dental work you need at least 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. This will help lower your risk of infection after surgery. Your surgery will be delayed if you’re having problems with your teeth at the time of surgery.

Stay active and exercise

Keep doing your regular activities. It’s also important to start doing your phase 1 exercises right away. Doing these exercises before surgery will help you get moving again after surgery.

Quit (or cut down) on smoking, vaping, and using alcohol or other drugs

It takes longer to heal when you smoke. If you need help to quit, go to Albe​rtaQuits. (Also remember that smoking is not allowed on hospital property.)

Alcohol and other drugs may affect the medicines you take before and after surgery. Talk to your healthcare team if you need help stopping or cutting back.

Plan to have help when you go home

You’ll likely be in the hospital for 1 to 2 days. Arrange for family or friends to help you when you’re home. You may need help with:

  • housework, yard work, driving, shopping, and making meals
  • getting to and from appointments
  • your medicines and bandages
  • your exercise program and treatment plan

Arrange care for others

If someone depends on you for care (such as a child or an older family member), arrange for someone else to give the care while you recover from surgery.

Get your home ready

Plan ahead so your home is as safe as possible and has everything you need after your surgery:

  • Arrange items in the kitchen and other areas so you can reach them easily.
  • Stock up on groceries and make frozen meals.
  • Adjust your bed so that the top of the mattress is above your knee crease.
  • Move your furniture so you have space to move around safely using a walker or crutches.
  • Remove loose mats or clutter that could cause you to trip or slip.
  • Install handrails on stairways inside and outside of your home, or arrange to have someone help you go up and down the stairs when you first get home.
  • Make sure you have the right type of chair for sitting, bathing, and doing your after-surgery exercises (see Moving around and caring for yourself​).
  • Do the heavy housework (like laundry and vacuuming) before you go for surgery.
  • If you have a tub with a shower door, take off the door and replace it with a shower curtain.

Don’t use any lotions or creams

Stop using any kind of lotion or cream on your legs starting 5 days before surgery. Do not shave your legs within 2 weeks of surgery.​​​​

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