What Should I Do Before Knee Surgery?

If you and your doctor have decided that surgery is the right option for you, you will want to prepare for the surgery. By informing yourself as much as you can, you will feel more confident about what will happen during the surgery and how to make your recovery as manageable and positive as it can be.

It is always a good idea to get a clear picture of the surgical procedure, the recovery period and living long-term with a prosthetic knee. Building a clear mental picture of how much you can bend your knee, what activities you can do post-surgery and what type and level of pain you will experience post-surgery is an important first step. Feeling empowered to ask about your doctor’s experience with knee replacements, success rate, and advice on recovery plans will go a long way to help make your knee replacement a success. Don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s important for you to let your doctor know if you don’t understand something. Remember to be your own advocate and trust your instincts, you deserve to feel confident in this decision to alleviate the pain you’re experiencing.

Questions to discuss with your doctor

  • How often do you perform partial or total knee replacement? How many does this hospital perform each year?
  • What are the major and/or most frequent complications of partial or total knee replacement? Infection rates?
  • What is the procedure if I have complications and who will treat those complications?
  • Do you perform the surgery using software guidance or navigation? If not, why not?
  • What are the pros and cons of minimally invasive surgery?
  • Which device would you choose for yourself, if you needed a total joint replacement?
  • How important is the technology, device or procedure as compared to your skill and experience?
  • What is the typical length of stay in the hospital?
  • How much pain should I expect and how is it managed in the hospital?
  • How do you measure the success of the operation and recovery?
  • Will you provide a post-surgery plan for my at-home recovery and pain management?
  • What will I be able to do/not do after my total joint replacement?
  • What kind of follow-up and physical therapy do you recommend/will I need after my surgery?
  • Will I be able to contact you after the surgery if I have a question or problem?
  • How soon after surgery can I drive/go back to work?
  • How long will my new joint last and what can I do to make it last as long as possible?
  • Do you have written information on this procedure?