What To Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery

Posted on: 23 November 2016

Even though knee replacement surgery is a common procedure, it's common for people to be nervous about the outcome. After all, your knees need to be functioning properly in order for you to walk. Put your mind at ease by learning what to expect after your knee replacement surgery is complete.

Recovery Time

Recovery time after knee replacement surgery varies depending on the type of knee replacement surgery your orthopedic surgeon performs. If your orthopedic surgeon suggests a traditional knee replacement surgery, you should expect your recovery time to take up to 12 weeks. However, if you have knee replacement surgery that's minimally invasive, your recovery time will be shorter. This is because less-invasive knee replacement surgery allows your surgeon to insert your knee implants without damaging your quadricep muscle.


You should expect to be standing up — with some assistance — approximately 12 to 24 hours after the completion of your surgery. Before you leave the hospital, you'll complete exercises with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles that surround your new knee implant, and you'll practice walking with a walker or cane. Even though it may seem odd to be asked to get up and moving so soon after your knee replacement surgery, it's perfectly normal. It's very important that you begin using your new knee implant as soon as possible.

When the hospital releases you — typically three to five days after your surgery — you'll be able to walk with the help of a walker or cane, bathe and dress yourself, and bend your leg at a full 90-degree angle. Most people are able to begin weaning themselves off of their assistive walking device four to six weeks after their knee replacement surgery.

Preparing Your House

Some people stay in a nursing home during their recovery, and some people decide to recover from their knee replacement surgery at home. If you plan to recover at home, you'll need to prepare your home before your surgery. You should:

  • Rearrange any furniture that blocks walkways or that will make it difficult for you to walk around the house using a walker.
  • Pick stuff like cords and rugs up off the floor so that you don't trip over it.
  • Make sure there is a place for you to sit that's won't make getting up difficult — such as a recliner with a firm seat.

Patience is important when you're recovering from knee replacement surgery. It takes time to recover. If you have questions or concerns about the recovery process, you should discuss them with your orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible. Contact a medical center like the Family Medical Clinic for more information.