Knee Replacement: What to Expect
Learn what to expect when you are scheduled to receive knee replacement surgery at UNC REX Healthcare:
Day of Surgery Timeline
- On the day of your surgery, you must first register. Go to the main entrance of the hospital and the registration desk will be on your right.
- Once registration is complete, you will move to the pre-operative area where you will be prepped for surgery. Finally, you will be moved to surgery. Surgery typically lasts 1-2 hours.
- After the surgery is complete, the surgeon will visit family in the main surgical waiting room.
- The patient will spend at least 1 hour in recovery, and then will be moved to a room for the remainder of their stay.
- Rooms are on the Orthopedic Unit, which is on the 6th floor of the patient tower.
What to Bring
- Clothing: Comfortable, loose fitting items. Non-skid socks are provided. Bring shoes that are supportive with a closed heel. Avoid flip flops or bedroom slippers.
- Personal hygiene products or undergarments
- Assistive devices you may need, such as glasses, hearing aids, dentures, CPAP, or walker.
- A copy of your advance directive (if you have one): living will or healthcare power of attorney.
What Not to Bring
- Unnecessary valuables, such as jewelry
- Home medications: Medications from home will only be allowed by physician order in cases where the hospital pharmacy cannot provide the medication or a suitable substitute.
There are no specific visiting hours for the orthopedic unit. Caregivers are welcome to visit and are encouraged to be a part of your care and therapy sessions, if possible.
Length of Hospital Stay
The length of stay for patients receiving a total knee replacement is typically 1-2 nights. For example, if you have surgery on a Monday, you will most likely go home on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The first session of physical therapy is the day of surgery for most patients. The Physical Therapist will see you twice a day and the goal is to progress to walking and functional mobility. Knee exercises typically include range of motion, strengthening, and walking.
Please plan to have someone at home with you around the clock for at least the first few days after surgery.
For a comprehensive guide of what to expect before and after knee replacement surgery, please review this guide.