How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Hip or Knee Replacement Revision?
Knee Revision Recovery
The timeline for recovery from knee revision surgeries is not as regimented as it is for primary knee replacements, and can vary quite a bit from person to person. It may take up to 12 months to fully recover.
Most people will feel comfortable going back to work and resuming some of their normal activities three to six months after the surgery (this may not include exercise or other strenuous physical activities). See our expert tips for a smooth recovery after knee surgery.
Hip Revision Recovery
You will be about 20 percent recovered and should feel comfortable putting more weight on your hip about six to eight weeks after surgery. The timeline for returning to work and other daily activities is usually between 12 to 26 weeks (three to six months). Your exact recovery timeline will be determined by the type of hip revision surgery you needed, and whether you have other factors that could slow your recovery, such as weakness in the hip abductor muscles.
A hip revision surgery recovery timeline is usually much longer than the timeline to recover from an initial hip replacement. Some people may not be fully recovered for 12 to 18 months, especially if it was required to cut bone or reattach muscles/tendons to the hip.
Most patients are encouraged to walk with a walker or crutches the same day or next day after their hip or knee revision surgery. Patients who cannot go home after one or two nights may be discharged to a skilled nursing facility or may stay in the hospital for a few more days until it is safe to go home.
The first one to two weeks of recovery are usually the most difficult and most painful. We will continue to encourage you to walk with your walker or crutches. However, you will also need to make sure you don’t put too much stress or weight on the new joint.
After two weeks, you will have your first follow-up appointment with the surgeon to check your incision (cut) and make sure things are healing properly.
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Knee Revision Surgery
Most people can begin physical therapy two weeks after their knee revision surgery. Your physical therapist will design exercises to help with your range of motion, strength, and gait. Our goal is to move you from a walker to a crutch, then to a cane, and eventually to walking with no assistance.
Hip Revision Surgery
Physical therapy exercises usually begin about four weeks after a hip revision surgery. However, each person’s surgery is a little different, so the recovery process will vary and the timeline for starting your physical therapy may be longer than four weeks. Your surgeon will let you know when you can start these exercises and connect you with a physical therapist.
You will continue to have regular follow-up appointments with your surgeon during your recovery.
Hip & Knee Revision Complications
A revision surgery often takes longer than the original joint replacement procedure, which increases the risk of complications.
Complications after a hip or knee revision surgery may include:
- Infection – Anytime you go in for surgery there is a risk for infection, and severe complications from infection can be devastating or even life-threatening. If you are at higher risk of infection the benefits of a total hip revision or a total knee revision may not outweigh the risks.
- Blood clots – While recovering from a revision surgery you may have strict limitations on your activity levels. This can put you at higher risk of developing a blood clot, including a dangerous pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs) that can be life-threatening.
- Dislocation or damage – Performing a hip revision surgery or a knee revision surgery may not correct the problem and could even cause additional damage or instability in the joint, or cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in the area of the prosthesis.
- Joint stiffness and mobility issues – Recovering from a revision hip replacement or revision knee replacement is more difficult and takes longer than recovering from the initial joint replacement surgery. This can lead to joint stiffness, mobility restrictions, and other challenges.
- Overall health risks – Surgical procedures and recovery afterward can put additional stress on your heart and your body. It can also expose you to a hospital environment where there are risks of contracting other diseases, such as pneumonia.
Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss all the risks with you to determine the best course of action. He or she will also provide information on how to prepare for surgery to reduce your risks as much as possible.
How to Make An Appointment with Our Joint Replacement Specialists
If you experience symptoms of a hip replacement failure or knee replacement failure, schedule an appointment to see one of our orthopedic surgeons who specialize in joint replacements. You can get a referral from your primary care provider or another provider, or you can contact us directly by calling 801-587-7109 to schedule a consultation.
Some insurance plans require that you get a referral from your primary care provider to see a specialist. Check with your insurance provider before you make an appointment to find out if you need a referral. Your insurance carrier will help answer any questions about your coverage and costs for hip or knee revision surgery.