Bilateral knee replacement surgery—Three weeks post-op and x-rays

Three weeks after surgery, Mark is walking around the house without a cane. He has started doing minor household chores like clearing his place after a meal and emptying or loading the dishwasher. Yesterday he refilled the birdfeeders.

Although he walks well, he still walks slowly, and doesn’t like to be on his legs for very long periods at a time. Since the surgery we have gone out to lunch, dinner and breakfast. Last week he went to Macy’s at a mall with me. I parked at the Macy’s entrance so he wouldn’t have to walk a great distance. While the sales clerk was assisting me, Mark sat in a chair in the shoe department (which isn’t really all that different from what he might have done before the surgery).

Mark went for his two-week post-op check with his doctor last Wednesday where he was told he only needs the cane when he goes out in public. I don’t believe I’ve seen the cane in his hand, here or when we’ve gone out, since. He has been set free from the CPM machine and no longer needs to wear the tight hose, unless his legs begin to swell.

Mark wants to drive to his physical therapy today. His therapist has told him he probably could drive as long as he can move his foot back and forth without pain.  I plan to go with him. I’m not comfortable with him driving on expressways yet, but I think he will do fine going the short distance along primarily residential streets to physical therapy. He is pretty worn out after therapy and I suspect he will not want to drive home.

The doctor recommended he continue to take the Lyrica and Celebrex, neither of which are narcotics, until his supply runs out. The Percocet remains up to his discretion for as long as he needs it. He has not taken any for two or three days. Prior to that, he was only taking one in the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep because of discomfort in his legs.

With the removal of the outside bandage, Mark is now allowed to take showers. This hasn’t been as big of a deal as he anticipated because he felt the sponge bathing he was able to do worked out pretty well. I shampooed his hair periodically.

The removal of the staples was a non-issue because there were no staples.  Mark’s incision had been closed with a single internal stitch that will dissolve, and steri-strips on the outside that will curl up and drop off. Overall we both think his scar looks good, much better than I, for one, had anticipated.

We didn’t actually see the surgeon at the appointment, but saw his physician assistant. Later, Mark’s physical therapist said that it was a good sign that the assistant did not think it necessary to call the surgeon into the room. The physician assistant gave us prints of the x-rays of Mark’s bionic knees.

Bilateral knee replacement - front view, Two weeks post surgery.
Right knee- side view

If you look closely at the above picture, you can see that the knee cap also looks like it was resurfaced.

Mark is experiencing a little numbness on the outside of his knees. It is noticeable, but not particularly problematic. He knew this was a possible side-effect of the surgery.

Mark continues to do the physical therapy exercises here at home: front leg lifts, side leg lifts, and bending knee lifts (not the proper name for this exercise). He does them three times a day, 50 repetitions on each leg. He’s started adding leg weights to his ankles.

We are grateful that Mark’s recovery has gone so quickly. Last week the woman beside him at therapy was four weeks post-op from a single knee replacement and was still using a walker. I don’t think Mark’s recovery made her feel better. We can’t really explain it except to say that Mark had an excellent surgeon, he’s relatively young, strong, and healthy; and he prepared himself by doing the recommended exercises prior to surgery; and faithfully continues to do them now. And he is extremely hard-headed determined.

And maybe an angel or two in heaven are looking out for us.

You can find links to the entire series on Bilateral knee replacement surgery here.

33 thoughts on “Bilateral knee replacement surgery—Three weeks post-op and x-rays”

    1. Yes. Thanks for stopping by Nancy. I don’t know how you and others keep up with reading the blogs so well. I have fallen so far behind I’m not sure I’ll ever feel in control of it again.

  1. My favorite part:

    “While the sales clerk was assisting me, Mark sat in a chair in the shoe department (which isn’t really all that different from what he might have done before the surgery).”

    I guess laughter really is the best medicine. : ) Glad to hear everything’s going so well!

  2. How is Mark doing now? I need to have bilateraly knee replacement, badly. But I am scared to do it at the same time…. I am having so much pain and difficulty standing for more than 10 minutes or walking for 10 minutes. Let’s not even talk about up and down stairs, hills, and uneven surfaces. I haven’t fallen yet. I would like to talk to someone that has experience bilaterally replacement with good results.
    Lynn Hill

    1. Mark is like a new man. He was in pain all the time last year. Now his knees are stronger than before. He can do anything except jog. He is working out in the garden as I type. Occasionally his knees ache is he has been on them a lot during the day, or done challenging work.

      It was scary for me when he decided to have them both done, but in the absence of having a “good” knee to rely upon after the surgery, it seemed like doing them both at the same time made sense. Many doctors won’t do bi-lateral. Mark’s doctor only does a few a year. It depends on the patient’s age and health.

      In the first few days after the surgery, Mark was very dependent and quite vulnerable. But the therapists had him up and walking pretty quickly. They were amazed at his progress. So I’m not sure his experience was typical.

      The other thing that I thought was scary was that his doctor put blood drains in his knees, and Mark lost a lot of blood through them early out. I was concerned about this, but it all worked out okay in the end.

      Mark was also very determined and vigilant about doing his exercises before and after surgery.

      I hope you find relief soon. Check back and let us know if you decide to have the surgery.

      We are both very grateful now that he had them both done and it is behind us.

  3. I recently had bilateral total knne’s replaced January 4th 2013. Three days in hospital and 13 days skilled care facility for PT & OT. I came home last Saturday the 19th of Jan. I am doing well, icing, taking pain pills as needed and religiously doing my exercises. I have started therapy three times a week. I am now using the bike, and hope to venture out to the mall for more walking this coming week. It’sonly been three weeks yesterday from my surgery date. I’m so pleased I had them both done at the same time. I hope this is heloful for anyone considering both at once. Both my knees were bone on bone with no cartildege. Lots of work recovering, but no pain, no gain they say. Thank you god for your help thru all of this.

    Christine F.

    1. I’m so happy to hear how well you are doing. I know you must be so relieved. In no time you will be so very grateful that you can do the things you enjoy doing again without the grinding pain you were so accustomed to. Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. Next Teusday…Bilateral knee surgery! 3 years ago I climbed 1575 stairs without a break, today I’m struggling with 2 steps. I am alittle nervous about the surgery but I keep telling myself I’ll soon be riding my bike again, working in the yard, hiking again, and blah blah blah. It’s good for me to read success stories. Glad to have found this one. Thanks, Tony

    1. I’m glad you found encouragement here. Best of wishes to you on your surgery. It was the best thing Mark ever did. He says he is much stronger now than he was well before the surgery. Let me know how it goes. Do the therapy religiously.

  5. I had bi-laterial knee replacement surgery March 28, 2014. I stayed in hospital three days and rehab 5 days. I am now doing therapy three days a week at home. I have gone to work twice in the last two weeks; first time worked 5 hours and second time worked 7 hours which was to long. I am a bookkeeper and I did not make myself get up and walk around every 30 minutes or so. Overall God has been good to me, I was bone on bone with terrible arthritis and bone spurs on both knees. I still hurt especially after physical therapy, but I have not had a narcodic pain pill in two weeks or a tylenol in 4 days. I have taken a couple of “knee spasm” pills in the last week. Overall I am glad I had the surgery, I know I can only get better. I am a female 6′ 280 pounds. Not an easy task for me to get up and down, but I am doing it better and better by the Grace of God.

    1. Thanks for letting us know how it is going for you. I think it sounds like you are doing pretty good. I think you will continue to get better. Keep up with the therapy as long a you can. Best wishes.


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