Below are some of our most common patient questions as well as information that explains how some of our procedures work. please call 205-971- if you need answers to questions that are not listen on this page.
When do my stitches or staples come out after total knee replacement surgery?
Your surgeon may close your wound in a variety of ways.If you have staples, they should be removed 2 weeks post-operatively. This will be done by a visiting nurse, home physical therapist, or at a rehabilitation facility if you are not at home.
If you have stitches, they are absorbable and do not need to be removed. The steri-strips that have been applied can be kept in place until they fall off on their own. They will help keep the skin edges together. If they have not fallen off by 2 weeks, it is OK to peel them off. Some wounds have a tail of suture that is visible at each end of the incision. You may trim this level with the skin at 2 weeks.
How long do I need a bandage after total knee replacement surgery?
You need a bandage for approximately 1 week or until the wound is dry. This bandage should be changed daily to a new dry, sterile gauze. If desired, you may continue to wear a bandage to protect the incision from irritation.
When can I shower (get incision wet) after total knee replacement surgery?
You may shower 3 days after your operation. If no drainage is present at the incision, no protection of the wound is required. If there is drainage from the incision, try to keep it covered and dry while showering.
How long will I be on pain medication after total knee replacement surgery?
You will likely require some form of pain medication after your hospital stay. Initially, you will be on a strong oral pain medication (such as a narcotic). Most people are able to wean off of their strong pain medication after 1 month and are able to switch to an over-the-counter pain medication (such as Tylenol or ibuprofen). If you are on Coumadin (warfarin), Plavix, or other blood thinner, avoid taking any NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn) without first consulting your internist.
How long will I be in the hospital after total knee replacement surgery?
The length of time spent in the hospital varies from patient to patient. Average length of stay for a total knee replacement is 3 to 4 days.
Will I go to rehabilitation or home after total knee replacement surgery?
It depends. Many people are able to go home after their operation. However, you may go to a rehabilitation hospital in order to gain the skills you need to safely return home. Many factors will be considered in this decision. These include availability of family or friends to assist with daily activities, home environment, safety considerations, post-operative functional status as evaluated by a physical therapist in the hospital, and overall evaluation by your hospital team.
What are good positions for my knee? What positions should I avoid?
You should spend some time each day working on straightening your knee (extension) as well as bending your knee (flexion). A good way to work on extension is to place a towel roll underneath your ankle when you are lying down. A good way to work on flexion is to sit on a chair or stationary bicycle and bend your knee. Avoid using a pillow or towel roll behind the knee for any length of time.