Friday, November 28, 2008

Guest Post: After Knee Replacement Surgery--What to Expect

By Sarah Scrafford

Our knees are subject to intense strain each time we walk or even stand. So it’s no surprise that these joints tend to give out sooner or later, especially when you become old or if you’re regularly involved in activities that place undue stress on them. Knee replacement surgery involves coating the worn ends of your thigh and shin bones and/or your kneecap with metal and plastic surfaces. The success of this surgery depends as much on the skill of the surgeon wielding the scalpel as on your ability to follow instructions after the procedure. Here’s what you need to do to get back to normal life once your surgery is complete:

Adhere strictly to your physiotherapy and rehabilitation program: Knee replacement surgeries are followed by rehab programs that last between six weeks and three months. Your therapist will guide you through a whole range of exercises designed to improve mobility and strengthen your thigh muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings). It’s important that you follow these exercises regularly; if you feel lazy or if you think it’s not worth the effort, then the whole point of going under the knife is a wasted exercise.

Don’t put on additional weight: Your knees support your entire weight, so don’t give them additional strain by packing on the pounds. Eat sensibly and exercise according to your doctor’s instructions so that you don’t gain weight after the surgery.

Monitor your medical conditions: While not a life-threatening procedure, knee replacement surgery does come with a few risks like the formation of blood clots, infection of the incision, or a nerve injury. Call your doctor at the slightest feeling of discomfort to ensure that there’s nothing to worry about.

Refrain from intense activities: While it’s true that your knees are sort of brand new, there are limitations to what you can do with these “replaced” joints. Any activity that puts a large amount of stress on your knees is not advisable – like running and sports like tennis or squash. You’ll probably be able to walk, exercise on a stationery bike, swim, golf, and ski though.

Stay positive: The worst part of any surgery is the pain you feel immediately after you wake up in the recovery room. Knowing what to expect and being ready to deal with it is an important part of the recovery process. Accept that there will be pain and that it will go away with time. Staying positive and not griping about your condition go a long way in speeding up the recovery process.

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of Radiology Technician Classes. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address:

No comments: