The knee is one of the most commonly replaced joints in the human body, and even though we’re getting much better at making the operation less taxing on the patient, there’s still a lot that goes into the recovery process. When the surgeon’s job ends, yours begins if you want to make the best possible recovery following total knee replacement. Below, we share some tips to help you speed up the process and give you the best chance to make a full recovery.
Trust Dr. Botero With Your Surgery
The first thing you’ll want to do is to trust your surgery to Dr. Botero and his team. Dr. Botero specializes in a minimally invasive form of total knee replacement that is not only safer than the traditional procedure, it also significantly reduces recovery time and complication risk. The old knee replacement surgery involved an 8-12 inch opening in order to access the joint, which led to bleeding risks and a whole lot more time waiting for the scar and joint to heal from the trauma. Dr. Botero only needs to make a 4-inch incision in order to perform his operation, which greatly reduces wound healing time, and also requires a lot less muscle and tissue dissection.
Our Post-Op Movement Plan
You may be surprised to learn that because of the technique Dr. Botero uses, patients are back on their feet hours, not days, after their operation. Within a few hours of surgery, we have you walk down a hallway, traverse stairs and try getting in and out of a car simulator. These motions help ensure your new knee is acting properly, but movement also helps to increase blood flow to the area, which in turn aids in the healing process. Many patients are discharged and allowed to return home the same day as surgery, or with just one stay at the surgical center.
Healthy Diet and Water Intake
Upon your return home, it’s important that you have a healthy diet while you are less mobile. Eating nutrient-dense foods will help ensure your body gets the vitamins it needs to help continue to recovery process, and healthy options will ensure you don’t gain weight, which would in turn put extra stress on the knee joint. Water is also important for keeping your hydrated and ensuring your have good circulation while you’re less mobile than normal.
Arguably the most important aspect of your recovery following total knee replacement is your involvement in physical therapy. Rest is great at allowing your body to heal from the trauma of surgery, but it’s physical therapy that’s going to help strengthen your knee muscles and provide stabilization for the joint. In order to reach maximum recovery, you need to throw yourself into your physical therapy routine. Stick to your doctor or physical therapist’s instructions and continue your exercises for as long as recommended. We understand that months of PT won’t be your favorite activity, but if you want to return to your favorite activities down the road, like cycling, swimming or jogging, you need to put in the work during this critical stage in recovery.
The final aspect of recovery we’ll touch on is wound care. If you’re not good about changing your dressing or watching for signs of a problem, an infection can develop and cause major issues with your surgery. Your surgeon or their care team will walk you through care instructions, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most doctors will ask that you change your dressing daily and avoid getting it wet, so they’ll also have some specific instructions about showering and bathing. Follow these directions and reach out to your doctor if you have colored discharge or run a fever, as these are signs of an infection.
If you follow these tips, we’re confident that you’ll have a great likelihood of making a full recovery following total knee replacement. For more information or to talk to Dr. Botero about your knee, contact his office today.