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Knee Replacement

Preparing For A Knee Replacement

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 17:21

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

The General Exam Prior To Surgery.

Because in most cases the patient is admitted to the hospital the morning of the surgery, the person will be scheduled for an appointment for preadmission testing several days to a few weeks before surgery usually consisting of:

  • Blood work/Urine test - A complete blood count may be determined to finalize the "all clear" for surgery. Because there may be a need for blood transfusion during or after the surgery, blood tests will be needed for blood matching.
  • Donating one's own blood- If the individual chooses, they may donate their own blood prior to surgery. After this, the individual may be instructed to take iron tablets after donating the first unit of blood and to continue until admission to the hospital for the surgery.
  • EKG- Provides information regarding the condition of the heart for surgery
  • Chest x-ray - Provides information about the respiratory status of the individual.
  • Anesthesia consult- An anesthesiologist, who is a medical doctor specializing in anesthesia, will explain what types and options of anesthesia are available for the knee surgery. Total knee replacement is either performed under a general anesthesia or under a spinal-type anesthetic. In general anesthesia, the individual is asleep during the procedure. In cases where a spinal anesthetic may be used, an injection is given into the spine numbing both legs. The individual is conscious but comfortably sedated.
  • Assessment by a member of the nursing staff- The nurse will meet with the individual to explain and describe the nursing care prior to and after the surgery.
  • Assessment by a social worker- This staff member will assess the needs of the patient regarding special equipment and or services the patient requires upon discharge from the hospital. The social worker can also provide the patient with a list of community resources available to meet these needs within the community and at home once discharged from the hospital.
  • Assessment by a physical therapist and occupational therapist. This part of the rehabilitative team will provide preoperative education to help prepare for the surgery. The physical and occupational therapist can assist with preoperative programs to include exercises as well as arranging for special equipment that may be needed after the surgery such as walkers, canes and reaching aides.
  • Other preparations
    • Dental - Some individuals may be asked to have a dental check up if there has not been one recently. Dental problems that have been previously addressed before knee replacement can prevent infections that might affect the new joint.
    • Eating and drinking instructions - The person undergoing surgery for total knee replacement will be given specific instructions regarding eating and drinking before surgery following guidelines from the of anesthesia department of that specific hospital.
    • Current list of prescription and non-prescription medications - The physician, anesthesiologist and nursing staff will need a current list of all prescription and non-prescription medications being taken. Instructions may be given to discontinue aspirin or aspirin containing medications two weeks prior to surgery at the discretion of the surgeon.

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