How to Prepare for Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Aug 22, 2019

Richard A. Sweet, M.D.

As total knee replacement surgery (TKR) has become an increasingly successful operation it has become a commonly utilized solution for patients with damaged worn out arthritic knee joints. There are several keys to a successful surgical outcome. Choosing an experienced surgeon and having the procedure performed at a facility adept in this operation are key factors.

But there are other things patients can do for themselves in preparation for a knee replacement to increase their odds of a favorable outcome and a smooth rehabilitation.

Long Term Advance Preparation:

  • The more fit a patient is going into surgery, the less chance there is of post op complications.
  • For overweight patients, a weight reduction program helps minimize risks.
  • Diabetic patients can more carefully manage blood sugar level. The better the long term glucose control the less the risk of infection.
  • All health issues such as heart or pulmonary disorders should be brought to their optimum condition via proper medical consultation.
  • Patients with skin disorders on the front of the knee (such as psoriasis) should take appropriate measures so as to have their skin as healthy as possible before surgery.
  • Having toned muscles (especially the quadriceps and hamstring muscles of the thigh) helps speed the rehab process. Patients do not need formal (and expensive) physical therapy to accomplish this. A combination of walking, leg lifts, elliptical machines, light resistive exercises, and use of an exercise bike depending on what is tolerated by the damaged knee can suffice

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Immediate Pre Op Preparation:

  • Stop blood thinning medication such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication and other more potent blood thinners prior to surgery under physician supervision.
  • Protecting the skin from scratches or abrasions, especially on the operative leg, is crucial. Wear protective clothing around pets that scratch or when gardening etc. where scratches commonly occur.
  • Typically the surgeon will prescribe an antibiotic that is absorbed through the nasal membranes to prophylax against staph infections (Bactroban) to be used the night before and morning of surgery
  • Often an antibacterial soap is recommended to use on the knee the evening before and morning of surgery.
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Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic

4130 Dutchman's Lane,
Suite 300,Louisville 40207
(502) 897-1794

Northgate Medical Center

3605 Northgate Court,
Suite 207,New Albany 47150
(812) 920-0408

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Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic
4130 Dutchman's Lane
Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40207

Northgate Medical Center
3605 Northgate Court
Suite 207
New Albany, IN 47150