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When facing knee replacement surgery, it’s common to focus on the procedure itself and what the recovery process will bring. But studies show that taking time to prepare for your surgery, including pre-surgical physical therapy, can provide better outcomes, including less pain.

The commitment of Thomas Calton, MD, to precision in knee replacement surgery has been a driving force throughout his career. Now, he’s a leading orthopedic surgeon at Elevate Surgical in Ogden, Utah, specializing in advanced knee surgery, and he uses minimally invasive, robot-assisted techniques whenever possible.

It’s common for people to have to wait 6-12 weeks to have a knee replaced. If this sounds familiar, take advantage of this time to prepare for your procedure by taking these steps.

Plan on “prehabilitation”

If you think you can skimp on exercise until after your surgery, think again. Instead, making sure your body is strong and healthy before undergoing your knee replacement can offer numerous advantages. And, making key lifestyle changes can improve your experience during surgery and recovery.

Get some exercise

First, strengthening your upper body can make it easier to use assistive devices, such as walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs during your recovery. On top of that, strengthening the muscles that support your knee joint can lead to less pain and better knee function after your replacement procedure.

However, most importantly, exercise can help with weight loss and management, which can take extra pressure off your knees before and after your surgery. And, it’s worth it even if you only have a few pounds to lose, because a single pound puts four extra pounds of pressure on your knees.

Dr. Calton can offer personal recommendations to help your prehabilitation strategy, especially if you have significant knee pain and dysfunction.

Improve your lifestyle

Along with getting plenty of exercise, you should also take the time before your procedure to improve your lifestyle. This is especially true if you have habits that can interfere with your surgery and healing, such as using tobacco and alcohol.

Using tobacco products that contain nicotine can increase your risk of postsurgical infection and deep vein thrombosis, which is a potentially life-threatening condition. Similarly, consuming 1-2 alcoholic beverages each day or more can interact with anesthesia.

If you use alcohol or tobacco, talk with Dr. Calton in advance to discuss ways to cut back or eliminate their usage so they don’t cause issues with your procedure.

Adjust your medications

Like most surgeries, you should plan on modifying the medications you take in the weeks before your procedure, such as:

  • Drugs that interfere with blood clotting, such as blood thinners, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and aspirin
  • Medications that suppress the immune system, such as steroids
  • Medicines that decrease pain tolerance, such as opioid medications
  • Drugs that can interfere with anesthesia, such as antidepressants

Provide Dr. Calton with a list of medications, vitamins, and supplements you take so adjustments can be made if necessary.

Make a plan

Finally, make a checklist of things you’ll need for your surgery and recovery to go well, such as:

  • Removing tripping hazards within your home
  • Arranging for pet or childcare if needed
  • Having meals ready in advance for your recovery
  • Lining up help for household chores, such as laundry or mowing
  • Making arrangements for rides to and from your surgery and post-op appointments

It also helps to pack a “surgery” bag with everything you need the day of your procedure. These items should include your photo ID, emergency contact information, and insurance card. However, you should also bring comfortable clothes, toiletries, cellphone, charger, and other items to keep you entertained while waiting and recovering from your surgery.

Dr. Calton can answer any questions you may have during your pre-op appointment, typically a week before your surgery. However, you can also contact our office at any point if you need additional suggestions while preparing to have your knee replaced.

To learn more about your knee replacement options, call (801) 758-0206 or book an appointment online with Elevate Surgical today.

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