Knee Replacement

Frequently Asked Questions

16. What can I do to prepare myself for the surgery?

Your first step in preparing for surgery will likely be a medical evaluation. Your doctor will evaluate the knee to be replaced and the ankle and hip on the same leg. Your doctor will also assess your general health, looking for any problems that could complicate surgery or your recovery. This may involve blood and urine tests as well as tests like an electrocardiogram (ECG) or chest x-rays.

If you are taking medications of any kind -- prescription or over-the-counter medications, or herbal or alternative therapies -- it's important to tell your doctor about all the medications and doses you are taking. You may need to stop taking some of your medicines for a while before surgery, while you can continue others.

If you are overweight, your doctor may recommend that you lose some weight before surgery to minimize the stress on your new knee and possibly decrease the risks of surgery. Your doctor may also recommend exercise to strengthen your muscles and improve your general health and recovery.

In the event that you need blood during your surgery, your doctor may recommend autologous blood donation – particularly if you are anemic. Autologous blood donation means you have your own blood drawn several weeks before surgery and stored in case you need it.

Because dental procedures can allow bacteria to enter the body and these bacteria could get into the prosthetic joint, your doctor may recommend that you have any needed dental work before your surgery. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic before surgery to reduce your risk of infection.

It is important to know as much as you can about the procedure and what to expect before you have it.

Some hospitals have classes for patients who will be getting knee replacement. Ask if the hospital where you will be having your surgery has one, and sign up to learn more about the surgery itself and recovery afterward.