Preparing for Knee Replacement Surgery

This Pre-Surgery Checklist is typical. Ask your CJRI physician about any special preparations you might need to make.

  • Weight Loss
    If you are overweight, your doctor may ask you to lose some weight before surgery to minimize the stress on your new knee and potentially decrease the risks of surgery.
  • Medical Evaluation
    If you decide to have total knee replacement surgery, you may be asked to have a complete physical by your family physician several weeks before surgery to assess your health, and to rule out any conditions that could interfere with your surgery.
  • Dental Evaluation
    Although the incidence of infection after knee replacement is very low, an infection can occur if bacteria enter the bloodstream. Treatment of significant dental diseases (including tooth extractions and periodontal work) should be considered before your total knee replacement surgery.
  • Urological Evaluation
    A preoperative urological evaluation should be considered for individuals with a history of recent or frequent urinary infections. For older men with prostate disease, treatment should be considered prior to knee replacement surgery.
  • Tests
    Several tests, such as blood tests, a urine test, and a cardiogram, may be needed to help your orthopedic surgeon plan your surgery.
  • Preparing Your Skin and Leg
    Your knee and leg should not have any skin infections or irritation. Your lower leg should not have any chronic swelling. Contact your orthopedic surgeon prior to surgery if either of these conditions is present, for a program to best prepare your skin for surgery.
  • You may be advised to donate your own blood prior to the surgery. It will be stored in the event you need blood after your surgery.
  • Medications
    Tell your orthopedic surgeon about the medications you are taking. You may be instructed to discontinue use of certain ones before surgery.
  • Social Planning
    Though you will be able to walk using crutches or a walker soon after surgery, you will need help for several weeks with such tasks as cooking, shopping, bathing, and laundry. If you live alone, your surgeon's office and a social worker or a discharge planner at the hospital can help you make advance arrangements to have someone assist you at home. They also can help you arrange for a short stay in an extended care facility during your recovery, if this option works best for you.
  • Home Planning Make your home easier to navigate during your recovery with:
    • Safety bars, or a secure handrail in the shower or bath
    • Secure handrails along stairways
    • A stable chair for your early recovery. This chair should have a firm back, two arms, and a firm seat cushion that allows your knees to remain lower than your hips
    • A raised toilet seat
    • A stable shower bench or chair for bathing
    • Shower hose
    • Firm pillows to place on chairs, sofa, and car seat --  You need these to keep your knees lower than your hips while seated
    • Removal of all loose carpets and electrical cords from the areas where you walk in your home
     

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