The Knee Replacement Recovery Timeline

If you are considering a partial or total knee replacement, you probably have many questions about the recovery timeline. What is the average hospital stay? Will you need physical therapy, and if so, for how long? When will you be able to walk, drive, and return to work?

Getting answers to those and other questions about the knee replacement recovery timeline will help you better understand and plan for the recovery process. Knowing what to expect can also relieve some of the stress you might feel about undergoing surgery.

Factors Determining Your Knee Replacement Recovery Timeline

The timeline for recovery varies depending on the patient, type of procedure performed, and the surgeon who performs it.

For instance, the partial knee replacement recovery time is generally much shorter than the time to recover after a total replacement. The total knee replacement recovery time will also vary depending on whether you have a traditional or an Intellijoint total knee replacement (TKR) procedure.

Total Knee Replacement Recovery Time Shortened with Intellijoint Replacement

Recovery after a traditional TKR can take at least three to four months, with full recovery approximately a year after surgery.

However, advancements in medical technology made TKRs with shorter recovery times and higher success rates possible. The Intellijoint online computer total knee installation is one of those advancements.

This procedure is less invasive than the traditional TKR with fewer complications. Intellijoint is less invasive because in standard or traditional knee replacement the surgeon drills a hole in the end of the femur in the knee and runs a steel rod up the inside of the femur bone for alignment and attachment of instruments.  It is felt by numerous surgeons that this portion of the procedure increases the risk for the complication of fat emboli going to the lungs from inside the bone and likely increases the pain from the surgery.   Surgery and recovery times are typically shorter with Intellijoint, and the patient feels less pain after an Intellijoint TKR. Some patients are able to return to their normal activities approximately eight to ten weeks after surgery.

The Intellijoint Knee Replacement Timeline: What You Can Expect

An MRI or CAT scan is not necessary prior to surgery.  You can schedule your surgery at any time and the computer and Dr. Likover are ready to go!  You must not have had any injection into your knee, either cortisone for hyalgan gel or any other injection  for three months prior to surgery.

Admission to Hospital is rarely needed.

Total knee replacement is now an outpatient surgery.  You should plan on going home the same day from the outpatient surgery center or the hospital.  Medicare and insurance plans do not expect you to stay in a hospital unless you are infirm, live alone and need help, or have a medical reason to be watched in a hospital. 

Your Surgery

Your surgeon will perform the procedure on the morning of your arrival at the surgical facility. The procedure on one knee typically lasts approximately one hour fifteen minutes.

Before surgery, you will be offered a nerve block and possibly a pain reduction pump to help relieve post-surgery pain. Read about it here and plan to take advantage of the pain relief.


After surgery, if your insurance covers it, you will receive  a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine, a device that moves your knee joint through a controlled range of motion while in bed. You should use it one hour four times a day every six hours. When discharged from the hospital you will use the CPM device at home for approximately ten days. If your insurance does not cover a CPM you may pay cash.   A knee brace to wear at night  and crutches or walker are provided for use during your recovery.

All total knee replacement patients go to physical therapy at an outpatient facility unless you need home therapy due to physical impairment or transportation problems.  If required, you can receive home physical therapy and home nursing for two weeks after surgery. Although your activities are limited during the two-week period, if you move your knee as instructed, working through physical therapy, you can discontinue use of the crutches and become mobile as quickly as you are able.  Recovery time varies, but two weeks after surgery most people are able to drive. Four to six weeks later, you could be golfing. Office workers usually return to work about two weeks after surgery.  Laboring workers take six to eight weeks or longer depending on the labor requirement. 

The Oxford Partial Knee Replacement Recovery Time Even Shorter

In many cases today, a total knee replacement  is not required. If only one part of the knee is worn out, the patient may be a candidate for a partial replacement, which requires a much smaller incision than a TKR (about 3-5 inches vs. 8-12) and shorter recovery time.

An Oxford partial knee replacement is a minimally-invasive procedure with excellent results. In fact, the results proved so positive that the Oxford is the first partial knee implant with a lifetime warranty by the manufacturer.

Patients say there is no comparison in the partial knee replacement recovery time, post-surgery pain, and natural motion of the new knee. Read patient testimonials here.

The Oxford Timeline: What You Can Expect

Before Surgery

Dr. Likover will order X-rays of your knee and provide information about the operation and recovery.

The Procedure

The Oxford procedure is performed on an outpatient procedure. You can discuss this with Dr. Likover in advance. The procedure typically takes approximately 45 minutes.

After Surgery

Most patients begin walking with a cane, walker or crutches the day of surgery, and some can climb stairs and put their full weight on the knee in a day or two.

You can return to normal activities, including driving and work, when you are able and cleared by your physician. Some patients return to work in one week.

Be aware that recovery times are different for each patient, and your commitment to recovery and rehabilitation is essential. You should use the CPM, walk, and perform physical therapy exercises as instructed by Dr. Likover.

If you have questions about the knee replacement recovery timeline, or you suffer with knee pain and would like an evaluation, contact Dr. Likover, a leading specialist performing total and partial replacements in Houston for patients worldwide.