If one or both of your knee joints has deteriorated to the point that it’s become painful and is affecting your quality of life, there’s a good chance you’re a candidate for knee replacement surgery. You might do some research and even set up an initial visit with a surgeon, but that won’t provide you with all the facts about the procedure and your recovery. In fact, there are a lot of things that get left out of the presurgical process, and that can leave you feeling angry or disappointed with the state of your knee post-op because of a misunderstanding.
While we strive to bring all of the following points up to our knee replacement candidates, we’ve found that most people aren’t finding this information elsewhere when looking into knee replacement surgery. Below, we share five things they don’t tell you about knee replacement surgery.
Oft-Overlooked Aspects Of Knee Replacement Surgery
The reason many of the following topics aren’t widely talked about is because they aren’t all sunshine and rainbows. But if we want you to have true expectations for the procedure, we need to cover these five topics.
- There Will Be Pain – We use anesthesia during the surgical procedure and painkillers to help manage discomfort as you come out of surgery and begin your recovery, but your rehabilitation is far from a painless process. There will be pain, and it will be significant at times, and that is normal. Joint replacement is a big undertaking for your body, and pain naturally occurs during the recovery process. We can help it from being overwhelming, but many patients say recovery was more uncomfortable than expected. We want to help you come into the process with appropriate pain expectations.
- Recovery Takes Some Time – We’ll have you up and moving shortly after surgery, but it will take months for you to fully recover after the procedure. Recovery can feel slow, but stick with your exercises and strive for small gains each day. Some days will be better than others, but you’ll get there, we promise. It may just take more time than you initially expected.
- Painkillers Aren’t Perfect – Painkillers can help to manage pain after the procedure, but that doesn’t mean we want you to be taking pills every couple of hours for weeks and weeks. Opioids come with their own set of challenges, and if they are over-relied on, they can lead to dependence, addiction, abuse and mental problems. You’re not going to have a stash of pills to get you through the rehab process because they are far from a perfect solution as you get further away from your surgical date.
- Not As Good As New – The good news is that your knee will feel better than it did prior to the procedure, but it will never feel as normal or natural as your knees felt in your 20s. The vast majority say that this improvement is worth undergoing the procedure, but you need to know that the replacement will not have your knee feeling like you just turned the clock back 40 years.
- You Have Pre-Surgical Homework – Your doctor will be prepping for surgery, and we expect you to do the same. Eating a healthy diet, getting closer to an ideal body weight and starting some therapy exercises early are all a part of having the best possible outcomes after surgery. There’s a lot that goes into a successful rehab, and it doesn’t all land on the surgeon’s skill. You need to put in some work, and part of that begins before you go under the knife.
We’re confident you’ll have a good experience with Dr. Botero if you need to have your knee replaced, but we want you to be aware of the totality of the procedure so there aren’t any unwelcome surprises later. For more information about any of this, or to talk to a knee surgeon about your pain, reach out to Dr. Botero’s office today.