What to expect after the operation
You will have a vertical scar on the front of your leg, approximately 10-18cms or 4-7 inches long. The surgeon needs to make a fairly big exposure of your knee joint in order to insert the new implant accurately.
Your wound will be closed using stitches or staples, which will probably need to be removed after 10-12 days, unless they are the sort which dissolve. Your surgeon will advise you about this.
You will have a large dressing on your knee to protect the wound. You may also have one or two tubes connected to drains in your knee to prevent excess blood from accumulating as the body heals. The tubes will normally be removed after a couple of days.
After your operation you will be working with a physiotherapist, who will monitor your specific needs and help you to regain strength and movement. It’s particularly important that you stick to the exercises the physiotherapist gives you in order to keep your new knee moving and to prevent it from developing problems.
The initial pain of surgery needs to be addressed with fairly strong painkillers for the first few days. You should expect to need to take painkilling tablets for up to 12 weeks after your operation. Your surgical team should be able to provide you with a leaflet about pain management.
Tiredness and feeling emotional
Your body is using a lot of energy to heal itself, so you will feel more tired than normal - sometimes it can come upon you suddenly. If you feel upset or emotional in the days and weeks after your operation, don’t worry - this is a perfectly normal reaction which many people experience, particularly when your blood haemoglobin level may be a little lower than normal in the post operative period.
Painkillers may well cause constipation, so it is important to get plenty of fibre in your diet while you are recovering. Fresh fruit and vegetables will help to keep your bowels moving regularly and try to drink plenty of water, but no more than 2 litres a day.