Once you and Dr. DeClaire decide that surgery will help you, you will need to learn what to expect from the surgery and create a treatment plan for the best results afterward. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an essential step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.
Below, you will find information and resources about surgery, post-op care, patient education, insurance and answers to question you may have.
Knee Replacement Surgery Checklist:
One Month Before
Preparing your body, mind and home.
Your surgery might feel far away, but will be here before you know it.
Preparing your home
In the days and weeks after surgery, you may find it difficult to walk and move around your house. It’s essential to prepare your home so your body has time to heal after knee replacement surgery.
What can you do before surgery to ensure your home is safe and comfortable during your recovery:
- Avoid falls and tripping hazards. Move throw rugs, toys, cords and clutter, and keep floors clear to prevent trips and slips.
- Create clear and wide walking paths around furniture. At first, you will need the aid of a walker or crutches to get around after surgery. Moving furniture ahead of time so you can easily move around it can make recovery easier.
- Place items you’ll need within reach. You may have trouble bending post-surgery. Prepare your home by taking items you use regularly out of lower cabinets, so you can easily reach without bending your knees.
- Consider adding safety rails to your bathroom. This will make it safer and easier for you to use the bathroom.
- Move to one floor. Stairs can be challenging during recovery. If your house is multiple levels, consider adjusting to living on a single floor to reduce the need to climb stairs until further along in your recovery.
Exercise to strengthen your knee (and body) before surgery.
Strengthening and conditioning your body before surgery can help your recovery in several ways.
- Strengthen your upper body. Upper body strength can make it easier to use assistive devices like crutches or wheelchairs.
- Reduce pressure on your knees. Exercising in the lead-up to knee replacement surgery may lead to weight loss. This can ease pressure on your knees before and after the procedure. Studies show that losing one pound of weight can relieve four pounds of pressure on the knees.
- Do low-impact exercises. If you are in pain, low-impact exercises like biking or swimming, are great ways to increase strength without damaging the knee further. Check with our team if you have questions about what exercises are right for you.
Ask for help.
Recovery can be hard on your body. Getting help from friends and family will help you better focus on healing.
- Arrange help with activities, chores and errands. You will be unable to drive for a few weeks post-surgery. Arranging for help with grocery shopping, mowing the grass, laundry or picking up prescriptions will help you focus on your recovery.
- Create a meal plan. Make and freeze meals ahead of time, or ask friends and family to help with meals during your recovery.
- Make arrangements for child or pet care, if needed.
Making plans a month in advance helps ensure that you don’t forget anything you need. This also gives your loved ones time to adjust their schedules to support you during your recovery.
Avoid using substances
Alcohol and tobacco may complicate your surgery and will make your recovery harder. Tobacco may increase your risk of developing blood clots and other complications after surgery.
Talk to your doctor if you smoke or if you have a drink almost every day. We can guide you toward resources to reduce or quit your substance use prior to surgery.
Schedule your pre-operative appointment
Your team at Michigan Knee Institute your doctor and care team want to make sure you’re physically and mentally ready for the procedure. A pre-operative appointment will allow us to assess your readiness and ensure your surgery is a success.
Your final appointment and preparations
You’re in the home stretch now! At this point, you are prepared for your knee replacement surgery. But there are a few steps that happen this close to your surgery date.
Your pre-op appointment.
About a week prior to surgery, you’ll have a pre-op appointment to make sure you’re physically and mentally ready for surgery. Dr. DeClaire will perform routine tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, usually performed a week before any major surgery.
Talk to your team about adjusting medications (if necessary)
Some medications can interfere with your recovery. The Michigan Knee team will give you detailed information about the medications you need to stop taking leading up to your surgery. These may include:
- Blood thinners
- Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Antidepressants and MAOIs – Some types of antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can interfere with anesthesia.
- Vitamins and supplements – Make sure to talk to Dr. DeClaire about any other vitamins or supplements you’re taking. We’ll let you know if it’s safe to continue using leading up to your surgery.
Arrange for transportation home
You will need to arrange for someone to take you home after your procedure. Need help finding a ride? Let us know. The team at Michigan Knee Institute can help you find resources to get you home safe and sound after your procedure.
One day before
A few last things
If you follow Dr. DeClaire’s instructions, you will be well-prepared the day prior to your surgery. There are just a few things to do.
Pack a go-bag
What should you pack in your knee surgery go-bag?
- A picture ID, your insurance information, and your emergency contact information.
- Comfortable clothes to wear post-surgery.
- Personal hygiene and toiletries – especially if you’ll be recovering away from home.
- Your cell phone, charger and headphones.
- Books, games or something to keep you entertained while waiting for your appointment and during recovery.
Contact our team with any questions
If you have any questions about what to expect during or after your surgery, now is the time to ask. The team at Michigan Knee Institute is here to support you throughout the knee replacement process.
Give our care team a call. At Michigan Knee Institute, we want to make sure you’re educated, calm and prepared for your surgery. We will answer your questions and put your mind at ease. It’s important to us that our patients are prepared and don’t have unanswered questions before their knee replacement surgery.
The postoperative recovery period varies based on the surgery. Generally, it is recommended patients take two weeks off work to recover from any surgery and to resume light duty following resumption of work. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to follow for a successful recovery.