How to Prepare For Recovery Time For Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty

Fabio R. Orozco, M.D.

How long has knee pain been affecting your life? Does the pain and stiffness of arthritis or another cartilage injury keep you from participating in the activities you love to do? Has it even begun to affect ordinary tasks, such as standing, sitting, or taking the stairs? If the answer is yes, your doctor may have recommended that you receive a double total knee replacement. Although it may sound intimidating, this is a safe and highly effective procedure, and after your recovery time for bilateral total knee arthroplasty at Rothman Institute, you should be able to return to many of the activities you love.

Bilateral total knee arthroplasty is a surgical procedure which replaces elements of both knees with prosthetic replacements. Because knee pain often comes from bones rubbing together where cartilage has been worn away, these arthritic ends are shaved off during the procedure and replaced with new metal and plastic surfaces. These prostheses are able to recreate the movement and stability of the knee while significantly reducing pain.

If your doctor has recommended that you pursue this procedure, an important step is to prepare for your recovery time for bilateral total knee arthroplasty. Knowing what follows the procedure, and what you will need to do, can help to ensure the best possible recovery.

Recovery Time for Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty
The recovery time for bilateral total knee arthroplasty will vary based on several different factors. First and foremost, it depends on whether you had both knee joints replaced simultaneously or whether you went for a staged approach instead. With both knees replaced together, you have only one period of recovery, but it may be slightly longer. If you and your doctors decide to replace just one knee at a time, you will have two separate recovery times, each of which may extend to six months.

Other factors which play into determining the recovery time for bilateral total knee arthroplasty include your age and existing health conditions. To get a more accurate estimation for your own recovery, talk with your doctor.

Stages of Recovery
Although each patient’s journey to recovery can vary slightly, most follow the same set of stages. Most patients can stand and begin basic movement the day after their surgery, and may be walking with support when they leave the hospital. This extra support, such as a cane or walker, may be recommended for the next two to six weeks of recovery. After four to six weeks, the patient will likely go in for the first post-op visit.  Although swelling is normal for up to six months, it should not be a major preventative factor in returning to normal activities. In fact, you should be able to drive as soon as you are off of your pain medication!

What Are The Expected Benefits of This Procedure? 


Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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