On Wednesday, May 25th I had a complete knee replacement and I would like to share my experience with you. I had put off my surgery for over year which caused extensive damage to the joint, and resulted in severe pain and difficulty walking. By the time I made my decision to have the surgery I was using a cane because I was afraid my knee would give out and I would fall. Probably the only way I was able to go so long was because I wore my 20-30 mmHg support pantyhose every single day.
My surgeon was awesome! I discussed my belief that everyone who has any type of knee surgery should come out of surgery with 20-30 mmHg thigh high support stockings on their legs not TEDS. TEDS are for patients in bed (non-ambulatory). Once the patient is able to go to the bathroom, a TED stocking does not have enough compression to increase the circulation and and keep the leg from swelling. The less swelling a patient has, the shorter the recovery period and the less likely they will develop a blood clot or other complications. He agreed with me, but said most patients were not willing to purchase the stockings and bring them to the hospital for their surgical procedure. Well, you know what I did! I went into surgery with one 20-30 thigh high stocking on my good leg and the other stocking attached to my bed waiting for the completion of surgery for it to be put on my surgical leg. Once again I will say my surgeon is awesome! It took one hour to replace the knee joint! I was in recovery for 2 – 2 1/2 hrs. During my surgery, they gave me a femoral nerve block. I was told they last about 48 to 72 hrs. Control of pain following surgery is a major step to recovery. The earlier a patient can move and start physical therapy, the shorter the length of hospital stay and the lower the risk of complications such as thromboembolic disease (blood clots) and infections related to hositalization. When I awoke in my room I was experiencing some pain, but a Norco (acetaminophen and hydrocodone) took care of the pain. Soon I was up to go to the bathroom and start walking using my walker that I had brought with me. When I was in bed I was on my CPM machine (a continuous passive motion machine constantly moves the joint through a controlled range of motion which is increased over time). Using a CPM machine helps insure you regain the full range of motion in your knee. I was also soon introduced to my “take home physical therapy”. The medical staff gave me no time for rest–ha! ha!
Would you believe, on Friday afternoon – 48 hours after my surgery, I was on my way home. Of course I was still wearing my stockings. Once home I continued my CPM (6 hours a day), wearing my stockings (after 2 or 3 days I changed back to my trusty 20-30 pantyhose which I could put on myself) and my take home physical therapy!
Some where about two weeks post surgical the walker went by the wayside and I picked up my trusty cane (still wearing my support pantyhose). By week three I was walking around the house without my cane and only used it when I went out. I was a bit late starting my physical therapy with a therapist– I started that in week four. By week six post surgical I was walking normal. Oh, did I say On June 6th, 11 days post surgical, I was back at work most of the day!
I suppose there is a moral to this story:
- Keep your pain under control
- Use your CPM machine
- Do all your physical therapy
- Wear your 20-30 compression stocking from surgery all through recovery period
Even now I have moderate daily swelling, but it does not hurt and has gone away the next morning. That is to be expected. What a difference compression stockings have made!
If any of you have comments about how compression stockings have made you recovery from surgery easier please scroll to the bottom of the blog entry to leave a comment.