Postoperative Expectations, Restrictions, Wound Care & Recovery Timeframes

What Are The Normal Signs & Symptoms After Surgery?

What to look for that indicates advanced medical care is needed.

Normal Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Bruising along the entire leg
  • Swelling
  • Difficulties walking or sleeping
  • Audible but painless popping & clicking
senior with leg pain

Abnormal Symptoms

  • Chills
  • Persistent fever over 102
  • Persistent drainage
  • Inability to bear any weight on the leg
  • Extreme calf pain
sick senior with chills

* If experiencing these symptoms call us first!

Post-Surgical Wound Care

The preferred wound closure system is the Dermabond Prineo skin closure tape. With this system you will have sutures underneath the skin which will absorb with time. On top of these sutures, a clear piece of tape is placed. This tape creates a barrier between the incision and outside bacteria. Use of this tape allows you to begin showering normally within 24 hours of your procedure. You are not able to soak the area in a body of water. Additionally, you have no wound care with this system. You may remove the outer dressings 24 hours after surgery but should not have to perform dressing changes or clean the incision with special solutions. The tape will stay in place for about 14 days.

DERMABOND® PRINEO® Skin Closure Tape | Ethicon (

What Is The Recovery Time For Total Joint Replacement Surgery?

You will be up, walking, performing specific exercises, and climbing stairs the same day of your procedure, however, it can take roughly 6-12 months for your strength, and range of motion to return. Additionally, it can be normal to have pain, stiffness, or soreness for the first year after surgery. These symptoms will improve over time throughout your recovery.

Return To Driving

Once you have stopped narcotic pain medication, and feel comfortable operating a vehicle.

Return To Swimming

Once your incision has fully healed (roughly 6-8 weeks after surgery).

Return To Work & Sports

Patients with seated jobs may return to work as soon as possible. Patients with active jobs, or who enjoy sports may return gradually around 2-3 months.

Full Recovery

Can take 6-12 months. Intermittent swelling, pain, or stiffness is normal during this period.

Traveling After Surgery

Avoid plane rides, cruises, or long car rides for 6 weeks after surgery.

Goals Immediately After Surgery

Day 1 Goals

  • Resume all normal medications
  • Begin medication for blood clot prevention
  • Continue use of TED hose stockings
  • Ice 4x daily
  • Complete home exercises 3-4x daily
  • Do not drive on pain medications

Week 2 Goals

  • Begin outpatient physical therapy
  • Continue home exercises 2-3x daily
  • Wean off of narcotic pain medications, and transition to OTC medications
  • Increase activities to tolerance

Week 1 Goals

  • Continue home exercises 2-3x daily (TKR’s focus on motion 0-90)
  • Ice 4x daily
  • Increase activities to tolerance

Week 3+

  • Continue to increase your activities after 2 weeks. Remember that full recovery occurs at 6-12 months! Intermittent discomfort during this period is normal.
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