5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE SURGERY TO MAKE YOUR KNEE REPLACEMENT RECOVERY A BREEZE!

5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE SURGERY TO MAKE YOUR KNEE REPLACEMENT RECOVERY A BREEZE!

July 28, 2023

Are you considering a joint replacement? There are a variety of factors to consider when weighing your options on whether or not to have surgery to replace your knee. It is a big decision to replace a part of your body. It can be a scary process to go alone, so I’d like to dive into 6 surgical and non-surgical considerations. Note, this is not advice that replaces what your doctor, physical therapist, or surgeon would recommend. Rather, I hope it will assist you in making an informed and individualized decision with your healthcare providers.

1. WHAT DOES A KNEE REPLACEMENT COST?

In 2020, the average cost for a knee replacement was between $30,000 and $50,000. This makes it very unlikely for someone to be able to afford to pay for this procedure out-of-pocket. Thus, it’s very important to understand your insurance plan. Speak to your insurance representative and work with your doctor for pre-authorization to understand your coverage. Other factors to consider are the time of year and if you’ve met your deductible; keep in mind when your coverage calendar year runs. Many people will opt for physical therapy services until they can get on Medicare benefits prior to undergoing a knee replacement because the cost is so prohibitive.

2. WHAT ARE THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF FOREGOING A KNEE REPLACEMENT?

Pain due to arthritic changes within the knee joint can cause limitations in physical activity, which can contribute to other changes if your activity is reduced for prolonged periods of time. This can include the more obvious orthopedic changes within the affected knee itself, but also up and down the same limb, the back, or the contralateral limb. This is due to compensations, reduced mobility, and decreased strength. The less conspicuous health implications include increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, etc. due to an overall reduction in physical movement and fitness.

3. CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP ME? IF SO, HOW?

If the pain in your knee persists and you find yourself compensating due to this pain, as well as reducing your overall activity level, physical therapy is a good non-invasive option to improve your pain, mobility, and strength. Being conservative is always a good place to start to see if your condition improves. If you have good results with physical therapy (PT), you may be able to postpone your surgery. Physical therapy prior to surgery can also assist in strengthening and flexibility, and help you with a smoother recovery post-surgery.

4. SHOULD I CONSIDER CORTIZONE SHOTS AND/OR SURGERY?

If you find you’ve been down the road of knee pain, arthritis, and multiple bouts of physical therapy at this point, but aren’t seeing any changes, it may be time to consult with your local physician and orthopedic surgeon for further assessment. This will likely begin with an x-ray to determine the severity of arthritic changes which will be seen by how much joint space is observed within the knee joint. Your healthcare team can determine other varying levels of invasiveness for treatment interventions including options like cortisone shots all the way to a knee replacement.

5. CAN I GET ENOUGH TIME OFF WORK TO RECOVER?

If you and your team opt for a knee replacement, it will take time to return to work. If your job is physically demanding, expect more time will be needed to build strength and be more functional with less pain. With physical therapy post-operatively, anticipate around 6 weeks to return to light work duties. If you work remotely, on a computer, or with a job that can be accommodating for you to take frequent rest breaks/ body position changes, you’ll likely be able to return to work sooner rather than later.

6. WHAT WILL REHABILITATION LOOK LIKE POST-SURGERY?

Here is an example of what protocol a physical therapist would follow after a knee replacement.

See our blog on knee replacement recovery we posted in May for further details on what to expect with a knee replacement, post-op recovery, Jane’s journey pre and post-surgery, and her experience with physical therapy at Bateman Therapy Services.

CONCLUSION

It can be difficult to make decisions on your health for many of the reasons I have discussed above but know you are not alone. You have a team of healthcare providers that can assist you in the decision that is best for you. Please reach out to us at Bateman Physical Therapy, we will be happy to consult with you regarding your physical therapy needs as well as referrals to other providers or surgeons we recommend.

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PHYSICAL THERAPY
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GERIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
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SPORTS REHABILITATION
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DIZZINESS AND VERTIGO
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ORTHOPEDIC THERAPY