Pre-Op Prep for Knee Arthroplasty (Replacement)

Once the decision is made to have knee arthroplasty (replacement), how do you help your loved one prepare for surgery?

Helpful Highlights

  • Go to the orthopedic pre-op evaluation appointment prepared with questions. This guide will help you formulate those.

  • The pre-op appointment includes an evaluation of not only physical status but mental/emotional and home support statuses, as well.

Everything you need is all in one place

Helpful app simplifies family caregiving by combining your loved one’s insurance benefits and medical records into one user-friendly platform while enhancing your caregiving skills

Get started for free

Based on the results of the pre-operative evaluation and tests by the orthopedic surgeon, clearance is or is not given for the surgery. The pre-op evaluation appointment will allow you to ask questions about the procedure, as well as pre- and post-surgical expectations, so be sure to come prepared.

Pre-operative visit

Not long before the date of the knee arthroplasty (replacement), the orthopedic surgeon will perform thorough physical, mental, and emotional examinations, as well as evaluate your loved one's post-op support at home. The surgeon will likely:

  • Ask about medical history and current medications (be sure to bring a list of ALL medications - with names, doses, and times - including over-the-counter)

  • Examine the problem knee, noting the

    • range of motion, stability, and strength of the knee joint, as well as overall leg alignment

    • the condition of soft tissues and ligaments

    • any deformity that has developed

    • neurovascular health, which links the brain, the spinal cord, and the blood vessels

  • Order blood tests 

  • X-ray of the knee to assess the status and structure of the joint, and occasionally advanced imaging (CT or MRI) may be needed to assist in surgical planning

  • Order an electrocardiogram ("ECG" or "EKG") to establish heart rhythm

  • Review what is required in the 24 hours before surgery

The surgeon will also work closely with other providers, like your loved one's cardiologist, to determine what medications they may need to stop taking before surgery (and when) to decrease the risk of complications, as well as when it will be safe to resume taking these medications.  This may include stopping blood thinners, aspirin, or supplements like fish oil, as these medications slow blood clotting, which could lead to an increased risk of blood loss during surgery or bleeding after surgery.

Before surgery, medical risk is assessed. The surgeon needs to make sure that the risks of knee arthroplasty (replacement) don’t outweigh the benefits. They will check for:

  • Anxiety and stress levels around the surgery

  • How well your loved one's body may tolerate blood loss

  • How well your loved one tolerates anesthesia

  • How your loved one will manage the rehabilitation process (making appointments, participating in the program, performing the recommendations)

  • How other medical problems may affect their healing

  • How active they are

  • How their current weight will factor in

Visit the dentist before surgery

It’s better to have any dental work done either well before surgery or no less than three months after. The surgeon may recommend antibiotics before any dental procedure once your loved one has had a joint replacement.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) – Total Knee Replacement

American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons (AAHKS) – Total Knee Replacement

Johns Hopkins Medicine – Knee Replacement Surgery

Mayo Clinic – Knee Replacement

No content in this app, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

About us

Helpful is an app to make caregiving easier. We integrate your loved one’s insurance benefits, medical records and caregiving guides into an immediate, accessible and user-friendly experience. Helpful supports your care needs by eliminating administrative tasks and providing technology to support your caregiving experience.

Get started for free
Elderly man is smiling at his relative caregiver