Preparing for Knee Surgery

What can I do to prepare myself for knee surgery?

If you smoke, stop or at least cut down significantly. Smoking can delay the healing process. Have any gum or tooth problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection. Always inform your doctor of any medical procedures being done before surgery regardless of how minor it may be.

  • Lose weight if you are overweight. It will help take some stress off your new joints.
  • If taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, consult your doctor; he or she may want you to stop two weeks before surgery to minimize bleeding.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented with iron and a multivitamin.
  • Report any infections, as surgery cannot be performed if present.

What should I pack to bring to the hospital?
Bring a list of medications along with your insurance and/or Medicare card, and the telephone numbers of relatives or designated to help people. Bring walking shoes, loose clothes, underwear, books or radio, headset, personal care items and cash for miscellaneous items. It’s best to keep valuables like jewelry and large sums of cash at home.

What can I do to get my home ready for surgery?

  1. Reorganize your home. Bending, kneeling and squatting will be very difficult immediately after surgery. You will be using crutches or a walker for a while. Remove loose scatter rugs, electrical cords and clutter that may be a hazard. Place everyday essentials in top drawers or places with easy access.
  2. Arrange for help now. Since you won’t be able to drive immediately after surgery, you will need someone who can drive you to your follow-up appointments, and help with shopping and running errands. Try to arrange this assistance before surgery.
  3. Stock up on essentials. Have convenience foods ready, or make and freeze some casseroles that you can simply warm up later. Stock up on extra toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, etc.
  4. Obtain assistance items. When you are ready to return home, have a cordless phone, backpacks, reaching aids and bathing aids. Some items may be given with you at discharge. Please ask the hospital.
  5. Other to do items. Make arrangements for someone to care for your pets.

Forward mail, make a list of emergency phone numbers, arrange for help, and pack bags. It may be helpful to have the following items available on hand: An elevated toilet seat. A stable shower bench or chair for bathing. A long-handled sponge and shower hose

How much blood will I lose during a total knee replacement?
First time knee replacements may require 1 to 2 units of blood. Revision knee replacement surgery may need 2 to 4 units of blood.

Do I need to autodonate before surgery?
Every effort will be made to help reduce the amount of blood lost during surgery. To cut down on bleeding your blood pressure is lowered, and cut blood vessels are cauterized. Patients with a hemoglobin greater than 13 usually do not require a blood transfusion. If a patient does require a transfusion, community donated blood is used. Studies have shown many units of autologous blood will go unused and require disposal. This is primarily because blood can only be stored for 42 days from collection. It can be stored frozen up to a year, but this triples the costs and will only be done over very special circumstances. Autodonating and storage of blood is not covered by many insurance carriers, and usually will have to be paid out of pocket by the patient. Additionally, community blood is screened rigorously and carefully for infectious diseases to ensure your safety.

Additionally, donating your own blood before surgery depletes your red blood cell supply, which can make you weak and anemic before surgery. Please speak with your surgeon if you have any questions or concerns regarding blood loss, it is important to read through this information while preparing for knee surgery.