Hospital Stay For Knee Replacement Surgery

Hospital Stay For Knee Replacement Surgery

Day of Surgery

Just prior to your surgery, you will have an opportunity to speak with your anaesthetist to ask any questions you may have before the surgery. After your consultation, you will be transported to the anaesthetic station, where you will be administered with the correct anaesthetic dose. Following this, your hip replacement surgery will take place. Surgery typically takes between 1 to 2 hours in duration.

elderly man in hospital bed

Recovery Room

Immediately after your surgery, you will be moved to the recovery room for close monitoring. As you recover consciousness, you may experience swelling and bruising in your leg as well as stiff or sore muscles. To assist with post-surgery pain and recovery, you will be provided with regular pain medications. As your pain levels subside and whilst you are awake, you will then be moved to the ward.

What are Some Possible Post-Surgery Symptoms?

As part of your knee replacement surgery journey, it is normal to experience some post-surgery symptoms. These include:

Nauseous person

Nausea or Feeling Sick

This is not unusual in the first few days after your operation. If you feel this way, you can talk to your nurse and the appropriate medication will be provided.

man holding stomach


This is a common symptom typically caused by a change in your routine, medications as well as food. However, this can be easily resolved quickly if picked up early. It is important that you let your nurses know if this happens or if you are prone to constipation.

elderly woman with hands clasped under chin


This symptom is not common for everyone. Confusion is normally caused by a combination of your chosen anaesthetic, medications as well as being in unfamiliar surroundings. This symptom usually settles completely by the time you go home.

woman drinking water

Loss of Appetite

This symptom is not uncommon and can last for several weeks after your knee replacement surgery. However, it is important that you eat healthily and take in enough fluids to aid recovery.

woman sitting and holding ankle

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT)

This is another potential post-surgery symptom that could occur within the veins of your lower limbs as a result of reduced blood flow. This could potentially lead to blood clot formation with additional symptoms including pain, redness and swelling in the lower leg.

Grey figure holding hand over heart

Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

This is yet another potential post-surgery symptom that could occur when a blood clot goes to the lungs. This could lead to additional symptoms including sudden shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing.

You can support the prevention of blood clot formation from DVT or PE post-surgery through:

  • Performing prescribed leg exercises
  • Wearing support stockings
  • Moving and walking early and regularly  
  • Taking appropriate medication


nurse talking to elderly woman in hospital bed

How Long Will Your Length of Stay in Hospital Be?

Your length of stay in hospital will vary depending on your recovery and hospital services. Some hospitals and programs now offer support to allow you to recover at home. For your safety, you will need to achieve some recovery milestones like walking, negotiating stairs and toileting prior to leaving hospital.

woman with walker

Leaving Hospital

Like any surgery, there is an element of risk for complications, such as the risk of infection and Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT). This is why it is so important to learn more about what happens when you leave the hospital so you can do all that you can to help make your recovery as safe and speedy as possible. Some typical milestones to achieve before you can leave hospital include:

  • Being able to get in and out of a bed or chair by yourself
  • Managing to shower and dress with aids and/or a little help if required
  • Walking safely with the help of a walking aid
  • Being able to get up and down stairs with the assistance of a walking aid and/or handrail
  • Satisfactory movement of your knee joint
  • Well-controlled pain
  • Eating, drinking and going to the toilet independently
  • Wound healing well
  • Being able to manage your medications


This information is intended for residents of Australia only.

The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before you make decisions about your health.

© 2021 Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd. This site is published by Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd which is solely responsible for its contents. DePuy Synthes is a business unit of Johnson & Johnson Medical Pty Ltd. 1-5 Khartoum Road, North Ryde, NSW 2113, ABN 85 000 160 403.