Every type of surgery involves a certain level of postoperative pain. Knee replacement surgeries are no exception. Despite the high success rates of knee replacement surgeries (90 percent), the fact that they involve making incisions essentially means there will still be pain and swelling. The minimally invasive technique alone involves creating incisions up to six inches long—albeit significantly shorter compared to the traditional approach.
Fortunately, postoperative pain can be greatly eased with proper management. Orthopedic surgeons typically use a combination of medications and other pain management techniques to keep patients from fixating on the pain during their recovery phase.
Pain Management After Knee Replacement Surgery
As with any type of major surgery, knee replacement likely involves pain within the first 48 hours and even for several weeks.
Right after your procedure, your orthopedic surgeon may inject an analgesic called Exparel (an alternative to opioids) into the surgical site to provide pain relief for up to 72 hours. Your orthopedic surgeon will transition you to oral pain medications prior to your discharge.
Patients who are recovering normally should begin to taper off pain medication use, especially once they start with physical therapy, which is an equally important part of your recovery. Your PT will work out a treatment plan to help significantly reduce your pain and strengthen the key muscles that support your knee, enabling you to return to your normal activities safely and quickly.
What to Do If the Pain Persists
Persistent knee pain can arise from a variety of causes, such as the presence of infection, implant rejection, alignment problems, postoperative fracture, problems pertaining to the way the implant anchors to the bone, among others. It is, therefore, important that you consult the orthopedic surgeon who performed your surgery to find out if your implant is functioning as it should.
Your doctor will order imaging tests to assess the problem: X-rays reveal alignment or loosening problems, while MRIs and lab tests are commonly used to check for infection.
If your surgeon deems that a revision knee replacement is necessary, they may have you wait at least three months to have it done.
While these complications are extremely rare, it is still imperative to choose a highly skilled orthopedic surgeon to lower your risk of developing these complications and ensure a successful recovery.
Knee Replacement Surgery in Merriam, KS
At Midwest Orthopaedics, our team includes highly skilled orthopedic surgeons who have performed numerous successful joint (hip and knee) replacement surgeries over the course of their careers.
If you’re experiencing chronic knee pain that doesn’t respond to conservative interventions, we will evaluate your condition to assess your eligibility for a knee replacement. If we find that you’re a perfect candidate, we will work closely with you to get you adequately prepared for your procedure. You can trust us to take all possible measures to ensure your comfort and safety not only during your surgery but throughout the recovery process.
We have on-site physical therapy services, as part of our commitment to deliver high-quality, comprehensive care.
If you want to make an appointment with one of our surgeons, call us at (913) 362-8317 or use our appointment request form.