Knee surgery

What To Expect On Knee Surgery Day

Sometimes a knee replacement is the only option for reducing pain and restoring a normal activity level. If your surgeon has recommended knee replacement surgery for you, and you have agreed to such surgery, here is an idea of what to expect on the day of your surgery. 

Pre-Operative Procedures  

On the morning of your knee replacement surgery you will be admitted to the hospital. You will have to sign a number of forms from the hospital, the anaesthetist, etc. Your vital signs (heart rate, breathing, blood pressure and temperature) will be taken, you’ll be given a clean hospital gown to wear during the procedure, and an IV (intravenous drip) will be started to give you fluids and medication during and after the procedure.  

You may be provided with an elastic stocking to decrease the likelihood of blood clots. You will be asked to empty your bladder. All jewellery, dentures (false teeth), contact lenses, and nail polish must be removed. The surgical leg will be scrubbed and shaved in preparation for surgery. If possible, the anaesthetist will come into your room and discuss the type of anaesthetic that will be used. Finally, you will be taken into the operating room. 

Surgery Knee Surgery

Before you are taken to the operating room, you’ll be given medication to help you relax, and the anaesthetist will, if possible, talk with you about the medications she/he will be using. In the operating room, you will be placed under full anaesthesia. Apart from the surgeon and nurses in theatre, there may also be a representative from the company whose products will be used. They do not provide treatment but advise the surgeon on the devices and equipment.

During knee replacement surgery, the surgeon surgically removes the damaged bone and cartilage of the joint and replaces it with smooth, artificial implants - thereby eliminating painful bone-on-bone contact. 


After your surgery is completed, you will be transported to the recovery room for close observation of your vital signs, circulation, and sensation in your legs and feet. As soon as you awaken, and your condition is stabilised, you will be transferred to the ward or your hospital room. When you wake up you will find a bulky dressing applied to your incision in order to maintain cleanliness and absorb any fluid.

There may be a drain placed near your incision in order to record the amount of fluid flowing from the wound. Your doctor may prescribe a PCA device (patient-controlled analgesia) that is connected to your IV. The unit is set to deliver a small, controlled flow of pain medication and is activated when you firmly press the button on your machine. The healthcare staff will instruct you on how to use it. You may have a catheter inserted into your bladder as the side effects of the anaesthetic may make it difficult to urinate. A continuous passive movement (CPM) unit may be placed on your leg to slowly and gently bend and straighten your knee. This device, if prescribed, is important for quickly obtaining your knee range of movement.