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What to Expect after a Knee Replacement

During the past two decades, the number of joint replacements has tripled, which means that more and more people are coming in to see their orthopedic knee doctor for this type of procedure. As such, it is helpful to know what to expect from it, since being in the know is not only helpful for hurrying the healing process, but also for keeping an individual stress free before the surgery.


As an orthopedic knee doctor will be able to confirm, a patient usually spends up to 3 days in the hospital for surgery and recovery. The health care team will monitor the state of the patient closely, checking to see if they are in good condition to be released home. They’re checking to see if the individual can stand, walk with the assistance of a cane or another type of walking device, and is able to flex and extend their joint.

For those who have troubles with their mobility, or meet other sorts of complications, the hospital stay will be longer. On the other hand, there are cases in which the surgery is performed as an outpatient basis.

After the procedure is done, the patient is taken to a recovery room, where they stay until they come off from the anesthetic. They are given pain medication intravenously, and later either in the form of injections, or orally. Blood thinners may also be given, to keep blood clots from forming. In some cases, a dressing is placed on the joint to keep the swelling down, while a drain may be introduced to keep fluid from building up after the surgery.

Side Effects

Nausea and constipation are two of the side effects one’s surgeon in Green Bay may have warned them about. This only lasts for no more than two days, and is a normal reaction to the anesthetic. One’s healthcare team may give them laxatives do deal with this issue. Another possible side effects is fluid in one’s lungs, and to keep this from happening, a patient’s medical team will give them breathing exercises. Finally, blood clots are another common occurrence, which is why blood thinners are given. Doctors may also suggest doing a series of exercises to prevent this from happening.

Physical Therapy

This starts right after the surgery is done. The patient is encouraged to stand up as soon as they can. To help them achieve this, a physical therapist will visit them to monitor their mobility, range of motion, and progress of their exercising.


Request a consultation with one of the knee specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute. Call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online.

OSI has convenient locations to serve you. The campus in Appleton includes clinics, a surgery center, MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility, as well as a walk-in clinic that provides care for new orthopedic injuries.

OSI has outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.

OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.