Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Life After Surgery: Getting the Most Out of Your Artificial Knee

Knee implants can last longer than twenty years and for most they are the ticket to a more active lifestyle.  Living with an artificial knee requires that you get accustomed to new feelings and set realistic expectations. Watch this video to get tips on how to maximize the performance of your artificial knee.  View Transcript

Getting the Most Out of Your Artificial Knee

Jamie Nelson, Physical Therapist, University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center:

"After your surgery you will begin rehabilitation with a physical therapist and they will get you up standing and walking as soon as possible.  A total commitment to your rehab program is really critical for long-term success.  It's very, very important to communicate with your physical therapist and set short-term and long-term goals frequently."

Chris Stargiotti, Physical Therapist, UCSF Medical Center:

"When someone has a knee replacement, it's a brand new sensation for them.  They're probably accustomed to having deep knee pain.  So we'll slowly get them moving that joint again. 

Voice of: Jamie Nelson

Begin participating in low-impact activities such as walking, yoga, swimming and cycling, as soon as you're able to do so.  These activities can strengthen the muscles around the artificial joint and help it perform better.  Make sure your doctor has approved any activities that you wish to engage in. 

Debbie Studendorff, Grandmother, 58 years old | Total Knee Replacement Recipient:

"You have to move.  I think you have to move.  Don't give into your whims and lay on the couch like you want to."

Diane Livingston, Business Owner, 70 years old | Bilateral Total Knee Replacement Recipient:

"I think when you're in pain you have a tendency, of course, not to want to exercise.  Not to want to work on strengthening your legs, because it hurts, but if you can do that, the recovery is so much quicker."

Mary Comeaux, Homemaker, 65 years old | Bilateral Total Knee Replacement Recipient:

"You learn to live again and you learn to enjoy life.  You know, you have to learn how to work with them, knowing that these are not my knees, these are metal knees.  So you have to learn what your limit is, when to stop, when to go."

Sing Tan, Retired Surgeon, 80 years old | Bilateral Total Knee Replacement Recipient:

"The result of the total knee surgery, for me, is better than what I expected.  The only regret that I have is that I should have done the surgery much earlier."

Jamie Nelson:

"After you're finished with rehab and after you've had your total knee replacement, you can expect that you'll have check-ups with your doctor over the duration or the lifespan of the device."

Voice of: Jamie Nelson

An artificial knee means that you must regularly check in with your doctor and medical team.  If you experience any increase in pain or decrease in performance, schedule a check-up immediately. By taking care of your artificial knee you can help ensure that it will function effectively and enable you to engage in activities that you enjoy.  The rewards are likely to last twenty years or longer.  

Chris Stargiotti:

My goal is to help this person become independent again.  One of the things that people don't realize is how emotionally painful and physically stressful it can be to lose ones independence.  So I try to teach people to get back to doing things for yourself, even if you have someone to help you do it. 

How Your Artificial Knee is Different

Having an artificial knee comes with new sensations, and behaviors that take some getting used to.

Staying Active

There are plenty of low-impact activities and sports that you should be able to do not too long after surgery.

Arthrofibrosis and Your New Knee

After surgery, an abnormal scar tissue response can lead to painful joint stiffening. This is called "arthrofibrosis."

Life After Knee Replacement

Setting Realistic Expectations

An knee artificial can drastically improve your life, but is important to set realistic expectations.

Your Daily Life After Knee Replacement

An artificial knee can add new considerations to your day-to-day life.

Managing Your Weight

Maintaining your weight will reduce pressure on your knees, and will ultimately help you get the maximum performance from your artificial knee.

Your State of Mind

Knee replacement is a significant surgery and can have an overwhelming impact on your life.

Vitamins for Your Joints

Nutrition is key in all aspects of health, including keeping your joints (artificial and natural) healthy.

Knee Replacement: Years Later

Knee replacement will impact the rest of your life. Curious how it has affected others?