Preoperative Procedures for Knee Replacement Surgery

Prior to undergoing total knee replacement surgery, patients should ask their doctor the following questions:

Am I a good candidate for total knee replacement surgery?

Before surgery, your doctor or surgeon will perform a physical examination, including a complete medical history and knee evaluation, to determine your ability to undergo the procedure. Blood and urine samples, a cardiogram, x-rays, and other tests also may be performed. In some cases, the surgeon recommends donating some of your own blood before surgery to store in the event that you need extra blood during or after knee replacement.

What can I expect from knee replacement surgery?

It is important to have realistic expectations about knee surgery, about the amount of time it will take to recover, and about what life will be like with a prosthetic knee. Your surgeon can answer questions about your specific circumstances and about what to expect in regard to pain and recovery. Talk with your doctor about what you can do to make your surgery and recovery as successful as possible.

Am I prepared for recovery following total knee replacement surgery?

Following knee replacement surgery, many patients benefit from staying in an extended-care facility or hiring a home health aid. If you plan to have family members help you after your surgery, make sure they know what to expect and can handle the demands of your care.

After being released from the hospital, you will need help with activities such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, bathing, and laundry for several weeks. Making these arrangements ahead of time can ensure that your recovery will go more smoothly.

It will be helpful if your home environment is easy to navigate with crutches or a walker. Living on one floor for the first few weeks and removing all tripping hazards, such as throw rugs and electrical cords can make recovery easier. Ask your doctor or surgeon for information about modifying your home. An accessible chair that is easy to get in and out of, a place to elevate your leg, and handrails for your shower or toilet, also may be helpful during the first few weeks of your recovery.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 11 Jan 2010

Last Modified: 28 Sep 2015