Before ever leaving the hospital, most bilateral total knee replacement patients have practiced walking the halls, climbing stairs and performing simple exercises - all with assistance, of course. In the weeks following surgery, patients should continue physical therapy, regain strength and range of motion and begin to feel increasingly independent.
When it comes to the recovery time for bilateral total knee replacement, the timeline can look a bit different depending on whether the patient has a simultaneous or staged procedure. We highly recommend that patients make a comprehensive list of questions about post-surgery recovery and discuss those questions in detail with their physician. The more you know, the better you can prepare yourself - both mentally and physically - to take all of the necessary steps to have a full and quick recovery.
Questions & Answers Concerning Recovery Time for Bilateral Total Knee Replacement
What kinds of movements/exercises will I be able to perform right away? You’ll be encouraged to start working on leg extensions and ankle rolls almost immediately after surgery. Soon after, you’ll be allowed to get out of bed and practice walking with support.
I keep hearing about exercise and physical therapy, but how will I know what to do once I leave the hospital? Don’t worry; a booklet of helpful guidelines for at-home care will be provided for you before you leave the hospital. Be sure to refer to it frequently and follow the instructions carefully. Remember that your commitment to your own recovery is one of the most important variables in the entire process.
Should I be worried about blood clots after my procedure? Blood clotting can be a complication of almost any surgery, but simple measures can be taken to prevent it. You will probably be asked to take a blood thinner for a couple of weeks. Keep in mind that if you’re on Coumadin, you will need blood taken 1-2 times per week. Of course, if you are only using aspirin, blood work will not be required.
When will my sutures be removed? This is one of the most common questioned asked about the recovery time for bilateral total knee replacement. If you do have sutures, they will come out at a 2-week post-op office visit. Steri-Strips will then be applied to provide further support as the incision site continues to heal. However, staples won’t be removed until closer to four or even six weeks after surgery and they will be taken out in a rehab center.
Overall, it is critical to carefully follow your surgeon’s instructions concerning recovery. For a high percentage of knee replacement patients, the process of getting back to “normal life” is smooth and successful. For more information from real patient experiences, check out Rothman Institute’s knee Ambassadors!