How Long Does a Total Knee Replacement Take

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total knee replacement duration

In ancient times, surgeries were painful, exhausting, and lasted for long periods. Thanks to recent developments and modern technology, surgeries have significantly improved and now take the absolute least amount of time. Total knee replacement, a surgical procedure to replace the damaged parts of your knee, takes about 2 to 3 hours on average. Learn about the entire procedure and the time taken in this article.

What is a Total Knee Replacement (TKR)?

A total knee replacement (TKR) or knee arthroplasty is a surgical procedure in which the damaged or worn surfaces of the knee joint are removed and replaced with artificial parts, called prostheses. The goal of the surgery is to relieve pain and improve function in the knee. The procedure is typically recommended for individuals with severe knee pain or stiffness that limits their ability to perform daily activities, and who have not responded to more conservative treatments such as physical therapy or medication.

Pre-operative (before surgery) Evaluation

The average waiting period for the surgery can range from 6 to 12 weeks. During this time period, your surgeon will advise you to undergo an initial examination to determine your suitability for the procedure, which will take place around 2 weeks before the surgery. The initial examination is very crucial to determine your relative risk profile and current health. The tests may involve:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Chest X-Ray 
  • Electrocardiogram (A test that checks your heart’s electrical activity)
  • Any other tests if required

On the Day of The Surgery

On the day of a total knee replacement (TKR) surgery, you will typically arrive at the hospital or surgical center a few hours before the scheduled procedure. Your vitals would be checked and then you will be escorted  to the pre-operative area where they will ask you to change into a surgical gown and receive any preoperative medications as prescribed by their anesthesiologist. You will then be shifted to the operating room.

The Procedure

After the pre-operative measures, the patient will then be taken to the operating room where they will receive general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia to put them to sleep or numb the lower part of their body. 

  • The surgeon will then make an incision over the knee, exposing the knee joint. The damaged bone and cartilage will be removed and replaced with prosthetic components, which are typically made of metal and plastic. 
  • The surgeon will then position the components to ensure proper alignment and stability of the knee joint. After the prosthesis is secured in place, the incision will be closed with sutures or staples.
  • The entire procedure usually takes between 1 to 3 hours, depending on the complexity of the case and the surgeon’s experience. 
  • After the surgery the patient will be taken to the recovery room where they will be closely monitored until they are fully awake. The patient will then be transferred to the hospital room for further recovery and rehabilitation.

It’s important to note that the recovery time can vary greatly from person to person, but most people can expect to go home within 3-5 days after surgery.  Physical therapy sessions will begin immediately after the surgery and you will be able to resume normal activities within 3-6 months.

Recovering at Home

Recovering at home after a total knee replacement (TKR) surgery can take several weeks to months. The recovery period is the most crucial time and it is advised that you take care of your knee and follow your surgeon’s advice to prevent complications.

  • Follow your physical therapy and rehabilitation plan as prescribed by your doctor. This will help you regain strength and mobility in your knee.
  • Elevate your leg to reduce swelling and pain. Use ice packs to help reduce inflammation.
  • Avoid putting weight on your knee until your doctor advises you to do so.Get enough rest and avoid activities that put stress on your knee like climbing stairs, crossing your legs, and bending at the hip.
  • Keep the incision site clean and dry. Follow the instructions given to you by the doctor or nurse on how to care for your incision.
  • Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor to manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • By the sixth week, there will be a drastic improvement in your knee movement. You may be able to drive your vehicle within 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. You can also resume your jobs and daily activities by then.
  • Traveling is allowed 6 weeks after surgery when the risk of a blood clot is significantly reduced.
  • By week 12, you are able to carry on with activities like bicycling, golf, and dancing.
  • Week 13 and beyond, your knee will keep improving gradually with less or no pain. It takes up to 3-6 months before your knee is as strong and resilient as before.

How Much Time Will it Take to Fully Recover?

It may take up to 12 months to fully recover. However, most patients may resume their usual activities and return to work within 3 to 6 months following surgery. 


Total knee replacement has improved the quality of life for many people who suffer from severe knee pain. To ensure that you recover as quickly and painlessly as possible, Medfin provides the most recent surgical techniques. Additionally, we will support and guide you at every step of your recovery. You can contact Medfin’s expert team of doctor’s for any guidance on total knee replacement surgeries.

Disclaimer: The content on this site is the copyright of Medfin and is intended for informational and educational purposes only. This should not be considered as a substitute for medical and surgical expertise. Results from any treatments or surgeries are subjective to an individual patient and the type of procedure/surgery performed. Please seek professional help regarding any medical concerns. Medfin will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.

Author: Medfin Medfin is the future of surgical care, that’s been helping people get access to the latest day-care procedures and top doctors at the most affordable costs.

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