A patient may be asked to make several medical and home preparations to ensure a successful surgery and recovery

A doctor or nurse will provide the patient with a list of medical preparations that can help lower the risk of surgical and post-surgical complications. Certain medical preparations are required, while others are recommended.

Medical Preparations For Knee Osteotomy

  • Patients may be asked to wear a leg brace that mimics the knee alignment after an osteotomy. Wearing the brace for several days can help patients gauge whether knee osteotomy will be of benefit.
  • Patients may be asked to spend time on an exercise bike or do other exercises that will help build strength and improve knee range of motion before surgery.
  • Many doctors instruct patients to thoroughly wash the leg(s) each day in the week leading up to the surgery to decrease the chance of postoperative infection. Some doctors may even require patients to shower with a specific antiseptic, antimicrobial skin cleanser, such as Hibiclens, each day for 4 days prior to their surgeries.
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  • Patients should avoid sunburn, scrapes, poison ivy, and other problems that may negatively affect the skin around the surgical wound. Notify the surgeon of any of the above, as surgery may need to be rescheduled.
  • Two weeks before surgery, a patient may be asked to stop taking certain medications, such as:
    • Aspirin, NSAIDS (e.g. Aleve, Advil, any type of ibuprofen), and other medications that make it more difficult for blood to clot
    • Steroids and other medications that suppress the immune system, and therefore, may increase the chance of post-surgical infection.
  • A patient may also be told to eliminate smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery, as nicotine slows healing and increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a potentially deadly blood clot in a deep vein, after surgery.
  • A patient who has other medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may be required to obtain medical clearance from his or her surgeon, primary care physician, or other doctor(s), verifying that the patient is healthy enough for surgery and anesthesia.
  • Patients who have more than 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per day should tell their doctors, as heavy alcohol use can impact the effects of anesthesia.
  • Patients who get sick (cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout, etc.) in the days preceding a surgery should report it to the surgeon.

Patients who follow through with medical preparations improve the likelihood of a successful recovery.

Home Preparations for Knee Osteotomy

Preparation will decrease stress and anxiety when arriving home. Household preparations will reduce the chance of falls, which can jeopardize a successful recovery.

  • Arrange for a spouse, friend or other caregiver to provide meals and help around the house.
  • Arrange for transportation, as most patients cannot drive for the first 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.
  • Stock up on pre-made meals, canned food, and toiletry items to avoid having to run errands post-surgery.
  • If possible, arrange to spend sleeping and waking hours on the same floor in order to avoid stairs. Also, adjust bed height (not too high or too low) to help ease getting in and out of bed, if possible.
  • Take away or move anything that might be tripped over, such as area rugs or electrical cords.
  • Make sure all stairs have sturdy railings.
  • Install small rails or grab bars near toilets and in showers.
  • Install a modified toilet seat. The higher seat will make it easier to sit down and get up and put less stress on the healing leg.
  • Put a small stool in the shower to avoid standing on a slippery surface.
  • Have a comfortable, supportive chair with an ottoman to keep the affected leg elevated for intervals.
  • Consider practicing using walkers, canes, and other assistive devices ahead of time to ensure familiarity with them.
  • Many of these temporary adjustments and modifications can go a long way to aiding recovery and rehabilitation.

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Written by J. Dean Cole, MD
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