Are you constantly suffering from knee pain? Do you have difficulty getting in or out of a seated position? Does your knee ache at night or when you are resting? Does knee pain keep you from enjoying activities? Or have you been told you need a knee replacement? If so, you could be a candidate for a total knee replacement surgery.

What is knee replacement?

Knee replacement is a surgery to replace worn or damaged parts of the knee joint. The surfaces of the joint are removed and replaced with an artificial joint. This surgery can relieve pain and improve movement in your knee joint. You may need a total or partial knee replacement if:

  • Other treatments, such as medicine, steroid injections, and physical therapy, no longer stop your pain or help movement of the joint.
  • Pain or poor movement in your knee prevents you from doing normal activities.

What happens during knee replacement surgery?

Your knee has three compartments: inside, outside and underneath the kneecap. Total knee replacement is a surgical procedure in which one or more of the knee's three compartments that is diseased or damaged is replaced with an artificial metal and plastic joint called an implant. With partial knee replacement, your surgeon replaces only one part of your knee joint, most commonly the inside or medial compartment.

Our leading-edge surgical knee reconstruction treatment options include:

  • Tibial osteotomy: some patients may be candidates for this non-replacement procedure that realigns the limb and preserves knee function 
  • Knee arthroplasty, surgical replacement of the surface of the knee joint to decrease pain and increase mobility
  • MAKOplasty, an innovative robotic partial knee replacement surgery that targets the specific disease area and preserves bone, soft tissue and ligaments for more natural knee function post-surgery

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is proud to be the first hospital in central Ohio to offer robotic total knee replacement. This is a total knee replacement performed using a robotic arm system that helps doctors achieve a new level of precision in surgery. This exactness in placing and aligning your implant allows you to benefit from smaller incisions, shorter hospital stays, less physical therapy time and quicker recovery time. Robotic total knee surgery helps you get back to the life and activities you enjoy sooner.

How to prepare for knee replacement surgery

Preparation before knee replacement surgery can help ensure you have a successful procedure and heal faster. Prior to surgery, you’ll meet with your physician to discuss your medical history, the medicines you take and any questions you have. Your physician may also schedule routine pre-surgical tests. He or she will give you instructions to follow before the surgery, such as fasting and when to stop taking medications you normally take. You must also take a free 1-hour Buckeye Joint Class, either in person or online through MyChart.

Because the risk of infection could cause serious problems with your replaced knee, you need to have a dental clearance visit. If you do not have a dentist, check with the surgeon’s office to see if they can help you find a dentist.

You may need some help to move around safely when you first leave the hospital after surgery. You will be provided information on how to plan for help, prepare your home and buy adaptive equipment. Specific exercises will be recommended by your surgeon to strengthen your leg muscles and lungs in advance of surgery.

Can I go home the same day of knee replacement surgery?

Your specific health status determines the extent of post-surgical care and monitoring needed.

Based on your medical history, ability to walk independently prior to surgery and social support system, you may be a candidate for outpatient joint replacement surgery. In this same-day option, you'll start physical therapy within 3 hours of surgery and leave within 4-6 hours of surgery. 

For those patients who require overnight stays, many can leave the hospital within two days after their knee replacement.

What can I expect after knee replacement surgery?

You will be on your feet, bearing weight the day of surgery. Each person’s recovery is different and full return to normal activities will take months. Whether you go home or to a rehab facility, we will discuss your follow up care and a post-surgery visit with your surgeon will be scheduled. Your discharge instructions will include:

  • Care for your incision and dressing
  • Showering
  • Medicines
  • Exercises and therapy
  • Any precautions you need to follow until your surgeon tells you otherwise

Most patients have a home health care nurse and physical therapist come to their house three times a week. You’ll engage in some form of therapy for about six to 12 weeks after surgery and will be off work for at least six weeks. Your exercises will be advanced as your new joint heals.

In addition to protecting your new knee joint with appropriate precautions provided by your surgeon, good nutrition is essential to healing.




Learn how to prepare, and what to expect, before, during and after knee replacement surgery.

This video provides general guidelines on how to prepare for a knee replacement. Each patient is unique and should also follow the specific instructions from their surgeon and physical therapist.

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