How to Prepare for Knee Surgery

You have significant knee pain that is not getting better. If the problem is not an emergency such as a fracture, you should try physical therapy before scheduling knee surgery.

If the problem is arthritis, I almost always try injections of cortisone or Hyaluronic Acid (gel shots) before considering knee surgery.

Important steps in preparing for your knee surgery

Probably the most important step in preparing for knee surgery is making sure you have an excellent surgeon.

How many of these knee surgeries does your doctor do annually? Studies have shown that surgeons who don’t do a procedure commonly have worse results than those who do it frequently.

Also, an experienced surgeon typically has an experienced team and practice that will make the process a much more pleasant experience for you.

Prior to your knee surgery it is important to gain as much strength and motion in the leg. Walking, biking, elliptical and straight-leg raises will help build up your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Stronger legs make for quicker recovery. Also, the more motion you have of your knee prior to surgery the easier it is to get better motion of the knee after the surgery.

Stretch your quads by bending your knee and bringing your foot to your butt. Stretch your hamstrings by sitting on the floor and reaching for your toes.

Instructions for the day of your surgery

The morning of your surgery, have a shower and wash your knee well. If you are having a knee replacement, it is advisable to wash your leg the night before and that morning with an antibiotic solution such as Hibiclens.

Do not shave your leg the morning of the surgery. Remember nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours before your surgery.

After the surgery plan on eating light, but hydrate yourself well with lots of water.

Recovering after your knee surgery

It is also important to give yourself time to recover. Don’t rush back to work or sports until your doctor says you are good to go.

Knee surgery requires cutting through soft tissue including muscles that need time to heal. Don’t plan on driving after the surgery for several days to several weeks depending on what knee surgery you are having.

Make arrangements for your transportation not only at the time of surgery but for afterwards as well.

In preparing for your knee surgery it is very important to plan for your recovery. A positive attitude and commitment to getting better will dramatically help you improve.

Know that you have a great surgeon and follow his/her instructions before and after the surgery to get your knee back to normal as quickly as possible.

To schedule an appointment to have your knee examined by an experienced orthopedic surgeon at Westchester Sport and Spine, call us at (914) 358-9700.

Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Sport and Spine and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.