Discharge Instructions for Knee Replacement

Thank you for entrusting your care to us. We would like to make your healing process as rapid as possible. Below are some instructions based on frequently encountered questions.

  1. Plan to return 2 weeks after your joint replacement for clinical follow-up. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 410-448-6400.
  2. Place a dry dressing on the knee incision once or twice a day. The drainage from the knee should be decreasing. If it is not decreasing, let us know. Do not put any creams or ointments on the incision for 6 weeks after surgery.
  3. Stitches are in place in the knee and should be removed only by our staff at the 2-week follow-up appointment.
  4. Bending the knee is very important. Some patients go to a rehabilitation hospital after the operation, where they participate in daily physical therapy. Some patients go home after surgery. Either way, a physical therapist should see you at least two to three times per week to move the knee and keep it limber. If for some reason the physical therapy is not being done, call us so that we can help you schedule it.
  5. Do not sleep or rest with a pillow under your knee. Doing so would cause the knee to get stuck in a bent position. Instead, place the pillow under your ankle so that it stretches out the back of the knee and forces the knee to straighten.
  6. You may shower starting 4 days after surgery. The incision can get wet but should be patted dry at the end of the shower. Do not soak the knee in a bathtub, hot tub, lake, or pool for 6 weeks after surgery. Showers only until that time.
  7. In general, you should not drive for 6 weeks after joint replacement, and you should never drive while on narcotic medications.
  8. Try to take the narcotic medications as sparingly as possible: before going to bed and before physical therapy are two common times when patients feel they have more pain and should take the narcotics. Other pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are almost as effective without the severe side effects.
  9. Most patients will take 325 mg of aspirin twice a day and wear compression stockings to prevent blood clots. Coated aspirin (Ecotrin or Bufferin) is easier to take than uncoated aspirin, especially when taken with food.
  10. If you have chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911 to be seen by the Emergency Medical Service.
  11. If you have any of the following, call our office to be seen in the clinic:
    • Increasing redness or increasing drainage around the incision
    • Increasing pain despite taking pain medication
    • Temperature of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit or above

Numbers to call: Try to reach Pam and Christina, and give them some time to call you back.

  • Pam Wilson (registered nurse who works with Dr. Manson): 410-328-7154
  • Christina Leos (administrative assistant to Dr. Manson): 410-683-2120

Clinic Appointments: 410-448-6400

If calling during off hours and unable to reach anyone else, you may page the on-call orthopaedic resident: 410-328-6110.

To make an appointment with one of our orthopaedic specialists or to learn more about our services, centers and treatment options, please call 410-448-6400.