Your guide to knee replacement surgery – 04 – Preparing for your operation

Your guide to knee replacement surgery – 04 – Preparing for your operation


You should remain as fit and active as possible.
There are some exercises you can do before your operation – you can watch these in the
next section. It is a good idea to visit your dentist before
your operation. Loose teeth, cavities or poor mouth hygiene can lead to infections in the
area of the operation. Skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and rashes,
along with any other open wounds or scratches, can also cause infection. It is important
that you tell your clinical team about any of these as soon as possible.
The same applies to your toenails and feet – if they are in poor condition please see
a podiatrist or your family doctor before your operation.
Please take care especially with pets and when gardening as cuts and scratches may result
in your operation being postponed. Where possible try to avoid colds and other
infections as again these may delay your operation. If you smoke, now is the time to think about
stopping before your operation and staying smokefree during your recovery. Ideally you
should stop smoking about 8 weeks before your operation. This greatly reduces your risk
of developing complications. If you continue to smoke, you have a higher chance of getting
a wound infection and bone healing will take longer or bones may not heal at all. You also
increase your risk of developing a chest infection and are more likely to have a heart attack
or stroke during or after your operation. Ask your local Health Board or your family
doctor for the contact details of your local stop smoking services to receive free and
confidential advice as well as subsidised Nicotine Replacement therapy. Remember, the
longer you are smokefree before your operation, the better the result. Even if you’ve tried
giving up before, it’s worth having another go.
Alcohol may also affect your recovery so it’s important to stop drinking alcohol or at least
reduce your intake at least 1 week before your operation.
It is important to eat well before your operation. Have regular meals and if you find yourself
losing weight, please discuss this with your nurse when you go to hospital.
A common complaint following surgery is constipation. You can reduce this by eating plenty of fruit
and vegetables and by drinking lots of water before coming into hospital and while you’re
in hospital. Remember, all these things are very important
in helping to make your recovery as fast as possible.

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