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 MRI custom-designed total knee replacement (TKR) procedure.

Total Knee Replacement Recovery Time Shortened with Signature System

Recovering 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 Signature MRI custom-designed TKR is one of those advancements.

This procedure is less invasive than the traditional TKR with fewer complications. Surgery and recovery times are typically shorter, and the patient feels less pain after a Signature TKR.

Some patients are able to return to their normal activities approximately eight to ten weeks after surgery.

The Signature TKR Timeline: What You Can Expect

4 Weeks before Surgery

Your knee specialist will obtain an MRI or CAT Scan of your knee, hip, and ankle. The MRI scan typically takes about 20 minutes.

The MRI enables computer-generated 3-D modeling of the knee along with the design of the custom knee and personalized positioning guides used in the surgical procedure.

Admission to Hospital

This is an inpatient (one night stay or not at all) or outpatient procedure.

Your Surgery

Your surgeon will perform the procedure on the morning of your arrival at the hospital. The procedure on one knee typically lasts approximately one to two hours.

Before surgery, you will be offered a nerve block and 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, you will receive treatment with a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine, a device that moves your knee joint through a controlled range of motion.

When discharged from the hospital, you will use the CPM device at home for approximately two weeks. A knee brace and crutches or walker are provided for use during your recovery.

If required, you can receive home physical therapy and 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 feel able to.

Recovery time varies, but two weeks after surgery most people are able to drive. Four to six weeks later, you could be golfing.

The Oxford Partial Knee Replacement Recovery Time Even Shorter

In many cases today, a TKR 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

Your knee specialist 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. Use the CPM, walk, and perform physical therapy exercises as instructed by your physician.

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.