What to expect of bilateral total knee replacement

Posted by javajude @javajude, Oct 28, 2018

Any suggestions as to how to better prepare? Surgery is set for Nov. 20th.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Joint Replacements Support Group.

Hi @javajude – First, welcome to Connect & the Joint Replacements Group. I'm Debbra and I'm a volunteer mentor. I had one total knee replacement (right) in April 2017 here at Mayo Jax. I'm about to schedule my left knee for this upcoming February. I had a friend who had both knees replaced at the same time, and she did well, but I haven't had that experience.

From my own experience, my best advice would be: keep up your PT exercises. If for some reason you haven't had PT yet, ask your doctor for a prescription for pre-op PT. They will be able to show you the exercises you need to focus on for range of motion, extension – and they can also give you some training in using the walker prior to your surgery. The other thing I'm going to mention is something that came as a total surprise to me: after my surgery, my orthopedic surgeon wanted me to postpone my dentist visit for teeth cleaning for at least 6 months. Also,since then, when I go for teeth cleaning, I have to take a round of antibiotics prior to the appointment. They do this because infection is such a fear in joint replacements and they want to do everything possible to avoid the chance of infection.

If you don't mind sharing, are you having your surgery at Mayo or somewhere else? I ask because apparently there is a lot of diversity in terms of how long doctors want you to be hospitalized. I'm sure its also different when you have one knee vs. both. In my case, my orthopedic surgeon kept me in the hospital for 2 nights. Upon release, he ordered home PT until I could drive (about 3 weeks). At the end of week 1, I started on the stationery bike at home. I traded the walker for a cane. At the end of week 2, I could walk all over the house w/o a walker or cane – but needed the cane outside. At the end of week 3, I was walking outside w/o a cane, I was released to drive, and I started going to an outpatient rehab facility. I know these things differ greatly between people.

I'm tagging @gailfaith and @10nsmom – because I believe they were discussing having a bilateral TKR. I'm looking forward to hearing how things are going with your surgery prep. Please keep us posted. Wishing you all the best during the prep and the surgery.

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