Tests and imaging
The surgeon will ask you to have blood tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and x-rays before planning the surgery.
If any important problems are detected or if there are any anaesthetic issues, the surgery may be postponed or modified. If other medical conditions are detected, you may be referred to other specialists.
Some health conditions can increase the risks of knee surgery and the associated anaesthesia. Your surgeon will discuss the best course of action if you have one of them. Common conditions that may affect the outcome include diabetes, obesity and infection. Smokers are also at a higher risk of complications following surgery. You won’t be able to smoke during your hospital stay so this could be a good time to quit.
Consultation with the anaesthetist
Your anaesthetist will explain the options and risks of anaesthesia. They’ll want to know about any other existing medical conditions you may have, especially conditions such as lung or heart disease, kidney problems or previous problems with anaesthesia. Learn more about your anaesthetic options.
Preparing your knee for surgery
Exercise prior to surgery has been shown to have a positive effect on recovery. Exercise carried out before surgery to improve recovery after surgery is known as ‘prehab’. It’s designed to improve muscle strength and flexibility, without aggravating the painful knee.
Ask your surgeon which exercises are suitable for you. Any program should be carried out under the guidance of a physiotherapist. HCF members with extras cover may be able to claim for this.
Getting things ready at home
Your mobility will be limited for the first few weeks after surgery. You’ll need more time to rest and the drugs you take for pain relief may affect your ability to do basic tasks safely.
Think about how you’ll cope using a walking stick or frame.
Family members and pets: If you normally care for family members or pets, plan to have someone else do this.
Climbing stairs may be difficult. If this is unavoidable in your home, think about arranging to sleepdownstairs, or stay with a friend or relative. If your bathroom is upstairs, you may need a bedside commode.
If you live alone, see if you can arrange daily help, at least for the first week. You may also need help with gardening, putting out the garbage and shopping.
Mealtimes: Consider getting pre-cooked meals that can be easily reheated. Stock the fridge with fresh, healthy food and snacks. Think about ordering your groceries online and having them delivered.
Useful items you can buy or rent include: ice packs, a raised toilet seat, a shower chair and a gadget for picking things up off the floor. The hospital can help arrange rental or purchase of a walking stick or walking frame.
Make your home safer by removing slip hazards such as loose floor rugs and electrical cords.
Get some comfortable shoes with non-slip soles. Bear in mind your foot may be swollen for a while.
Buy or borrow some good books if you like to read. Or get a subscription to stream TV and movies.
Pay your household bills in advance: one less thing to worry about!
Arrange for someone to pick you up from the hospital after the surgery. Getting into and out of a car may be tricky at first, so you may need a helping hand.