As someone who has been on the side, watching my mum over the years having four different knee replacements, and now with my step dad currently in hospital having one, I have had a good insight into what happens, and the dos and don’t.
Obviously I’m not a consultant, I’m not in the medical field at all. So this post is purely from experiences my mum has had, with me at her side, seeing how it works, what to expect, what preparation you should do.
The first thing I would say is wait as long as you can before having the operation. A knee replacement on average lasts about ten years, depending on whether you are having a partial or a full replacement. So it stands to reason, the younger you are, the more operations you will end up having.
The most important thing I would say is to research your consultants. In England you can have a say in who does your operation. Don’t automatically go for the person they give you.
My mum’s first consultant, although the operation went well, was a horrible man. He barely came to see her, she was left in terrible pain for hours and she was released before she really should have been. With a different knee replacement the surgeon broke a bone in her leg, which can happen with these operations I know. However, he didn’t tell her that it had happened and it was only upon seeing a different consultant some weeks later that she found out the problem.
After that we researched the consultants and she now has a brilliant surgeon, who cares about his patients, looks after them well and she has had good experiences since.
After 20 years of having Osteoarthritis, she can now even do a little run. But she is awesome, my mum.
You get out of a knee replacement just what you put into it. Once the operation is done, the physiotherapy starts the very next day. The more you do, the more you try, the better it gets and the work pays off.
What isn’t always expected, is how long it actually takes to get back to normal, without crutches. Each time she has the operation my mum forgets how long it took to recover from the last one, and she is still surprised every time.
In the end, you recover at your own pace, depending on how hard you try, but usually 3 months (ish) is the usual time.
So there we go, a (very much) edited version of knee replacements and the things you can expect. The full version would have been at least a three normal blog post, but that would get boring. Hopefully you are not bored already!