Many patients wonder, and rightly so, how intense the pain will be in the days following their knee replacement surgery.
Compared to a hip replacement surgery, the pain is usually worse after a knee replacement. The pain also usually lasts longer.
What to do?
To reduce this pain, I now routinely perform injections in the soft tissues around the knee before finishing the surgery. The medication injected is a local anesthetic that will significantly decrease the level of pain. The first hours following the surgery are therefore more comfortable. Most of the time, the anesthesiologist will perform a nerve block, which will also bring some pain relief.
The effect of these procedures usually wears off the day after knee replacement surgery and pain will be managed with medication and ice.
Pain can be felt very differently from one person to the next. Some people will feel almost no pain whereas it can be more difficult for others. Furthermore, pain relief medication works very differently from one person to another. This means that patients will experience a learning curve before discovering what works best for them.
Another element that may cause discomfort is when the sutures or surgical staples are removed, approximately 10 to 14 days after the surgery. To avoid this inconvenience, except in some cases, I use a surgical closure technique that does not require staples or sutures that need to be removed.
Finally, most postoperative pain will gradually disappear over a few months. It is commonly agreed that it may take up to a year before being completely healed following a knee replacement. It is important to note that some patients may feel long term discomfort without there being anything wrong with the prosthesis. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25542191/)