Knee Replacement

What should I expect immediately after a knee replacement surgery?

A Answers (1)

  • AHealthwise answered

    You will have intravenous (IV) antibiotics for about a day after surgery. You will also receive medicines to control pain, and perhaps medicines to prevent blood clots (anticoagulants). It is not unusual to have an upset stomach or feel constipated after surgery. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you don't feel well.

    When you wake up from surgery, you will have a bandage on your knee and probably a drain to collect fluid and keep it from building up around your joint. You may have a catheter, which is a small tube connected to your bladder, so you don't have to get out of bed to urinate. You may also have a compression pump or compression stocking on your leg. This device squeezes your leg to keep the blood circulating and to help prevent blood clots.

    Some surgeons recommend that you spend time in a continuous passive motion machine (CPM) to help keep your knee flexible. The machine has a cradle for your leg and is fitted to your leg length and joint position. The amount it bends your knee is adjustable. You may already have a CPM slowly bending and straightening your knee when you wake up after surgery. A review of studies shows that CPMs do not make a big difference in increasing the amount that the knee will bend or straighten. But some doctors still recommend them for certain people.

    Your doctor may teach you to do simple breathing exercises to help prevent congestion in your lungs while your activity level is decreased. You may also learn to move your feet up and down to flex your muscles and keep your blood circulating.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

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