For most people a knee replacement can predictably eliminate pain and restore function. This is not to say that the operation is not without complications. I think that we as physicians do a good job of presenting these complications to the patient pre-operatively but I am not sure that we are always great at preparing our patients for the recovery after knee replacment. The first couple of weeks can often be very challenging and the patient is truly doing a lot of work in physical therapy. They likely are requiring pain meds, anti-inflammation medications and icing in between and around the therapy sessions. We often generalize and tell patients they are about 75 percent recovered at 6-8 weeks and that they will continue to make some improvement often out to at least one year. All patients are different and this schedule does not apply to all. Unfortunately, there are some patients (some research has suggested approximately 1 in 5) that may have some pain in there knee after the surgery and when the recovery is complete. Most of these patients are better than they were pre-operatively but still not 100 percent pain free.
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