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Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic
(310) 665-7200

What to Expect Before & After Knee Replacement Surgery

Dr. Tiberi believes that thorough preparation before knee replacement surgery leads to better recovery times and results for his patients.

Dr. Tiberi offers interactive solutions to help patients adequately prepare for surgery so that they are better equipped for surgery and know what to expect.

Below are some of the most common questions and concerns patients have before and after surgery. If you have specific questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our offices at (310) 665-7200. We are happy to help you in any way you need on your road to knee replacement surgery and recovery.

Preparing Yourself for Knee Replacement Surgery

Dr. Tiberi offers a surgery preparation app called Peerwell. Patients can use the application on their mobile devices and tablets to prepare for knee replacement surgery, step by step. Dr. Tiberi is able to customize the information for each patient so that they receive tailored instructions on preparing for surgery and recovery.

Peerwell helps Dr. Tiberi’s patients prepare by providing daily modules to complete in the weeks leading up to surgery. Dr. Tiberi has found that this step-by-step preparation method helps his patients feel less overwhelmed by the pre-op materials, because the information is broken down into segments. When patients are well-prepared before knee replacement surgery, they tend to have better outcomes after surgery.

Preparation modules in Peerwell cover information on the following topics:

  • Diet - A proper diet helps to boost your immune system and help rebuild muscle, collagen, and soft tissue. Along with exercise, the right diet can also help you lose excess weight.
  • Exercise - Exercises specifically targeted to your needs will help to strengthen the muscles that support your knee. Exercise also improves circulation, flexibility, and balance.
  • Pain Management - Alternative, drug-free pain management techniques can help to supplement your medications.
  • Anxiety Reduction - It is normal to feel nervous before surgery. Anxiety-reducing techniques can help you relax before surgery.
  • Pre-Surgery Preparations - You will need to prepare your home environment and make arrangements before surgery. The app will help you along to make sure everything is taken care of.

Dr. Tiberi and his team will also be available to answer any questions you may have during the preparation process.

What to Expect During Recovery

Knee replacement surgery typically requires a short stay at the hospital before being discharged. Upon returning home, you may still require assistance with everyday activities for several days or weeks.

It is important to follow all instructions given to you in recovery for the best possible outcomes. Complete recovery can take several weeks or months.

Physical therapy is a critical part of the recovery process. Patients typically begin working with a physical therapist the day of or day after surgery. Physical therapy typically begins with gentle movement of the knee, followed by the gradual addition of exercises as the patient gains strength. Physical therapy exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee and improve range of motion.

Activities and Restrictions After Knee Replacement Surgery

Some of the most common patient questions about knee replacement surgery are related to activities and restrictions after surgery. A lot of these factors depend on the individual patient and his or her recovery, although there are general guidelines to be aware of; Dr. Tiberi will let you know when you are cleared for regular activities.

When in doubt about a particular activity, consult with Dr. Tiberi and he will be happy to answer your questions. It’s better to err on the side of safety than to take on too much too soon.


Exercise and physical activity are encouraged for patients with knee replacements. An active lifestyle allows you to maintain mobility and keep your weight down. In addition to the exercises given to you by your physical therapist, low-impact exercises are generally preferred to prolong the life of your artificial knee. Swimming, walking, golfing, and biking are all excellent exercises to try.

Driving and Going Back to Work

Resuming work will largely depend on the patient’s job. A patient with a desk job may be able to return to work when he or she is able to resume most normal activities. However, a job that requires prolonged standing or more physical work may require more time away from work to build up strength.

Additional Considerations

Patients who fly often may want to consider carrying a card confirming their knee replacement, as the metal implants can sometimes set off metal detectors.

Patients with a knee replacement should take special care to avoid falls and injuries. A fracture near the knee could require additional surgery if the implants are loosened.

Even if you have no problems with your implant in the years following knee replacement surgery, it is important to keep up with routine check-ins. X-rays and physical exams can detect potential problems with the implant before it becomes a more serious issue.