TOTAL KNEE ARTHROPLASTY POSTOPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS
1ST POST OP APPOINTMENT
You must call the office the day after your surgery to make your first post op visit.
If you have not scheduled your first post op visit after surgery please call the office, the appointment desk will schedule your appointment 2 weeks after your surgery. It is very important you don’t miss this appointment. Our office number is 713-486-3550.
Following your operative procedure, you will be allowed to go home with the assistance of another individual. It is recommended that you have someone stay with you the first 24 to 48 hours after being given an anesthetic. It is normal to have some discomfort and/or pain in the first few days after this procedure. Everyone responds to and describes pain differently, but in general the pain medications prescribed should be adequate to control your pain. Severe pain, or pain that is increasing over the course of the first few days, is a reason to contact the office ahead of your scheduled appointment.
- Walker or crutches should be used until discontinued by doctor or physical therapist
- Ice knee frequently, up to 30 minutes out of every 2 hours
- Change knee position at least once an hour, while awake, to avoid stiffness
Home exercises should be performed 3x/ day
You will be given a prescription for pain and for therapy when discharged from hospital and please take and do as directed. You should take the pain pills before pain is severe.
****DO NOT WAIT FOR THE BLOCK TO WEAR OFF TO START YOUR PAIN MEDICATIONS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU START THESE IMMEDIATELY WHEN YOU GET HOME TO AVOID A PERIOD OF SEVERE PAIN****
The pain medication we give you is designed for pain control and should only be used at the lowest dose possible to control pain. This medication can cause constipation and drowsiness and should best opped as soon as pain allows. If constipation occurs, try eating bran cereal (with 8-10 grams of fiber). If that doesn’t stimulate a bowel movement consider using alaxative (over the counter) such as Colace or Miralax and make sure you drink plenty of fluids. ASPIRIN must be taken for 30 days after your surgery as it serves as a mild blood thinner and may decrease the chance of blood clots forming. If you need a refill on medications please contact the office. Please allow 48-72 hours for refill requested to be approved by Dr. Berkman. This is the policy for the office no exceptions. If the pain is very severe or numbness or tingling occurs, please contact the office immediately.
During the first 48 hours, ice can be helpful to decrease pain and swelling and is especially important during the first 72 hours. Ice bags/packs should never be applied directly to the skin. They should be wrapped in a towel and applied for 20 minutes at a time. Generally a break of an hour or more between icing is recommended. If the skin becomes very cold or burns, discontinue the ice application immediately.
CARE OF DRESSING/SHOWERING
Your knee was dressed in the sterile environment in the operating room. You may take a shower but should keep your dressing as dry as possible. You may also either take a sponge bath, tape a garbage bad tightly around the area or wrap the knee with saran wrap to keep from getting wet in the shower. We will remove your dressing at your first post-operative visit. After your follow up visit, the incisions likely do not need to be covered unless instructed by your doctor. Water may run over the area, but do not attempt to scrub or wash the area vigorously. Pat the area dry after the shower and apply a dry dressing if desired. Avoid creams, salves or ointments unless instructed to do so by your physician. Soaking the incisions in a tub, pool or hot tub is not permitted until instructed by your physician, generally 10-14 days post-operatively.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO WEAR THE (WHITE) TED HOSE AND USE THE SEQUENTIAL COMPRESSION DEVICES OR (SCD MACHINE) AT HOME.
This will help to decrease swelling in the surgical knee/leg and to help prevent blood clots.
DRIVING AND ACTIVITY
Driving is not recommended until patients are off all narcotic medications and are no longer using any assistive devices such as a walker or crutches. It is recommended that patients not drive until they have enough strength and mobility to operate a vehicle. Please avoid bending, lifting (7-10 lbs.), straining, exercise and air travel for 2 weeks. Most patients, within 2 weeks, can resume all regular activities. You will be instructed by the nurse in crutch walking before you leave the hospital, if necessary. You may put as much weight as determined below using the crutches. You must continue to do your exercises as instructed.
Please remember that you will start therapy that same Friday after your discharge from the hospital.
- Upstairs – The non-operative leg goes first, then the operative leg, lastly the crutches or cane
- Downstairs – The crutches or cane go first, then the operative leg, lastly the non-operative leg
EMERGENCIES OR CONCERNS
Contact us at 713-486-3550 or go to the nearest emergency room.
- Pain worsens or does not go away after pain medication is taken.
- Redness or swelling in your thigh or calf that will not decrease.
- Difficulties moving your toes or extremities.
- Develop a fever greater than 101.4 degrees.
- If you develop chest pain, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, new onset slurred speech call 911.
Please note that refills on pain medication will not be approved during evenings or on weekends.