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How Long Does it Take to Recover From Knee Surgery? Well, That Depends.

With any surgery, the more prepared and knowledgable you are, the more successful your recovery will be. That is why you'll need to prepare not just for the surgery itself, but also for the length of time required for recovery and healing after.

There are many options in knee surgeries today and your orthopedic surgeon will tell you the ones that are available to you. Most are based on the severity of your injury, your current health condition and sometimes your age and weight. When exploring your options, you'll learn that knee surgeries have come a long way, with many now having greatly reduced recovery periods. These more innovative surgeries include robotic, arthroscopic and PRP knee treatment.

Recovery time will most definitely enter into your decision for which option you choose. So, to answer the original question of "how long does it take to recover from knee surgery?" We again say, it depends on the surgical option chosen for you. Here's some typical recovery times for knees:

Traditional Total Knee Replacement: If your knee is severely damaged and you some of the more modern methods pose a risk to you, traditional total knee surgery may be chosen. It is the most involved of all knee surgeries. The surgical procedure usually takes from 1 to 2 hours. The orthopedic surgeon will remove the damaged cartilage and bone and then position new metal and plastic implants to restore the alignment and function of your knee. Total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine, but they have a lengthy recovery time. Traditional total knee replacement surgery can involve a hospital stay of 3-5 days, and a recovery period (during which the patient walks with a walker or cane) typically lasting from about 2-3 months. Most people recover from this surgery in about 6 months.

Robotic Assisted Total Knee Replacement: Because it's minimally invasive, patients with robotic assisted total knee replacement can often go home after surgery, skipping having to stay in the hospital. Once home, it may take up to six weeks to fully recover. During this time, you'll participate in physical therapy exercises to help in your recovery.

Knee Arthroscopy: This surgery uses a tiny camera to look inside your knee. Small cuts are made to insert the camera and small surgical tools into your knee for the procedure. Knee arthroscopy is surgery that is done to check for problems, using a tiny camera to see inside your knee. You will probably need about 6 weeks to recover. If your doctor repaired damaged tissue, recovery may take longer. 

PRP for Knee: Injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are a novel treatment for managing pain related to osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. In general, the usual recovery time for any PRP treatment is about 4 to 6 weeks. PRP injections that are used for musculoskeletal issues, particularly injuries to the joints, usually require 6 weeks or more. 

Physical therapy and exercise are critical to the success and length of time spent in recovery from knee surgery. You'll want to commit to the recovery plans prescribed by your doctor. Doing so will produce the best results and get you back into the activities you love at the soonest possible time following your full recovery.