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Knee Replacement

Knee Replacement: Frequently Asked Questions

Last modified: 
18/04/2012 - 16:49

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are some frequently asked questions related to knee replacement:

Q: How soon following total knee replacement should I be able to progress to walking independently?

A: The speed with which a person is able to discontinue the use of crutches, walker or cane varies from individual to individual. The majority of people require only a cane after six weeks, although others may need more time to progress and soon after become independent of any assistive device.

Q: How soon can one drive again after total knee replacement?

A: It is generally recommended not to drive for six weeks following total knee replacement However, if good knee control is achieved some may be able to return earlier. The surgeon will determine the appropriate time.

Q: What is a bilateral total knee replacement?

A: When both knees are replaced at the same time, the procedure is a bilateral total knee replacement. The simultaneous procedure refers to replacing both knees during one surgical event, under one anesthesia followed by a single rehabilitation period. A staged surgical procedure means that the second knee is replaced at a later period several months apart, requiring two separate hospital stays, anesthesias, and rehabilitation periods.

Q: If I have one knee replaced does this indicate I will definitely be in need of replacing the other?

A: No. Often only one knee is affected and the other completely normal. Sometimes the other knee is also affected either as severely or not as badly. The surgeon can inform you of the likelihood if the other knee will need to be replaced in the future.

Q: Will I loose a great deal of motion if I discontinue my exercise program given to me in physical therapy?

A: How high at risk you are for losing range of motion will depend how active you are with your new knee. If you are relatively active with bending and straightening you probably will not lose a significant amount if any. However, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle it is best to continue with all of the flexibility and strengthening exercises at least 3 times per week to maintain range of motion and strength.

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Knee Replacement

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From Andrew Maynard - Chair of the University of Michigan Department of Environmental Health Sciences, with help from David Faulkner - 2013 Master of Public Health graduate.