What to Expect After Knee Surgery


If you suffer from knee pain or injury, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend knee surgery. This may sound daunting at first, but such a procedure can often alleviate the problems you are experiencing. Knee surgery is one of the least invasive surgeries to undergo, but it can also be a temporarily debilitating one. It is important to gather as much information as you can before arriving for surgery.

Directly After the Operation

As you wake up in the recovery room, your current medication should keep you comfortable and relatively free of pain. You may be held in an intensive care unit for up to 24 hours, but this is nothing to be alarmed about. This usually just means your doctor feels you need closer monitoring because of your age or because of another medical condition.

What to Expect

You can expect some swelling or discomfort in your knee for up to a few weeks, but keeping your leg elevated should help to lessen many symptoms. Bruise-colored marks around the incisions are also normal as your skin is healing.

As You Recover

If you experience pain and swelling in your leg, and elevating your leg is not improving the situation, you should contact your healthcare professional immediately. Sometimes medicine can also cause unpleasant reactions, such as nausea or itching. Monitor your temperature throughout recovery, along with the amount of swelling, redness, and drainage from your knee. If begin to notice anything unusual, make sure to let your doctor know.

After knee surgery, you may benefit from physical therapy. A therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen your knee and get you back on your feet.

If you have knee surgery in your future, don’t hesitate to ask questions. At St. Petersburg General Hospital, our Orthopedics Services staff offers top-notch care and can give you all the information you need. Visit us online or call Consult-a-Nurse® at 1-888-741-5122 for a physician referral.


St. Petersburg General Hospital Health Library

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

The Hip and Knee Institute

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Caring for Creaking Joints

What to Expect After Outpatient Surgery

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