Before and after your knee surgery

Before your knee surgery

When knee surgery is recommended to relieve the pain and stiffness caused by your knee arthritis, the team at Circle will work with you in advance of the surgery to help ensure the very best outcome for you. We know that many people feel concerned or worried about having surgery, so we’ll make sure you are educated and well informed about what to expect.

Pre-assessment: When you have knee surgery at a Circle hospital, you will be invited to a pre-assessment appointment. Here, you will meet with our nursing and physiotherapy teams to learn more about the operation, your stay in hospital and what to expect when you return home after your surgery.

Many people find it helpful to bring a family member or close friend with them to this pre-assessment appointment, so that they also have a clear understanding of the help you may require on discharge. Recovering from knee surgery can take some time, and you will be limited with certain everyday tasks, so the more support you have once you’re back home following your operation, the better.

Exercising before surgery: It is important to try to be as fit as possible before undergoing any surgery, and this remains the case for knee surgery. Low impact exercises like cycling or swimming are encouraged, as long as they don’t aggravate your pain excessively.  As always, you should stop any exercise that becomes too painful. Our physiotherapy team can help you plan a suitable exercise schedule if you would appreciate their expert guidance and support. Being as fit as possible before surgery can be of benefit in your recovery.

Admission for surgery: The time you will be asked to come to hospital will depend on the time of your operation, although normally you will only need to come in on the day of your surgery. You will not be able to eat for six hours prior to surgery although you will usually be able to drink small amounts of water up to four hours before.

Knee surgery (especially “open” knee surgery) is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, meaning you will be asleep throughout the operation. Spinal anaesthetic is also commonly used. Before your surgery, the anaesthetist will attach the monitoring devices needed, including a blood pressure cuff and ECG to monitor your heart.

After your knee surgery

Following your operation, you will be taken to the theatre recovery area where you will be closely monitored by our theatre staff. Once you are awake, you will be taken back to your private room to rest. Your nurse will visit you regularly to make sure you are okay and to carry out post-surgery clinical observations, but you can also call them at any time by pressing a button on your bed.

Most people who have knee replacement surgery will need to stay in hospital for two nights afterwards, while those having arthroscopic surgery can often return home the same or following day.

Before you are discharged from the hospital, your physiotherapist will have taught you some mobility and strengthening exercises to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of your knee joint. They will explain when and how often you should do these exercises once you return home.  

When you leave hospital, your knee will be covered by a dressing to help keep it clean and to reduce the risk of infection while you heal.

You will see your consultant at Circle at various intervals to review your progress. This is often after 6 weeks, although the exact timings will be decided by your consultant. If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery at any time, you can of course contact your consultant for advice and help. 

Recovering from knee surgery

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020 3613 6779

Circle Health, 32 Welbeck St, Marylebone, London W1G 8EU