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Jonathan Cluett, M.D.

Is It Safe to Have Both Knees Replaced at Once?

By October 22, 2013

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Knee replacement surgery is performed on patients with severe knee arthritis, who have failed to find improvement with nonoperative treatments for arthritis. Often knee arthritis is a problem in both of a patient's knees.

Bilateral knee replacement surgery means that both knees are replaced. Patients who have severe knee arthritis in both knees may be good candidates to undergo bilateral total knee replacement.

One concern of bilateral knee replacement is if there is an increased chance of complications from surgery. One complication, having a blood clot, has recently been shown to occur more frequently in patients having both knees replaced in one operation.

Discuss with your doctor if you want to consider bilateral knee replacement.

Related: Knee Replacement Surgery | Implants Made Specifically for Women

Source: "Thrombosis Incidence in Unilateral vs. Simultaneous Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasty with Compression Device Prophylaxis"

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January 16, 2009 at 9:24 am
(1) Nancy Ruth says:

I had both knees replaced 11 weeks ago. I had severe arthritis in both knees and felt this was my only option as I could hardly walk by the time I had the surgery. I am very pleased with my results. I can walk normally and without pain. The therapy sessions are essential to proper recovery though. I spent a week in the intensive in-hospital rehab unit, where I had therapy twice a day. Since leaving the hospital, I have had therapy 3 times a week. I believe the therapy is at least 50% of my success, with my doctor’s expertise the other 50%. A positive attitude is also important, but at this point, I am ready to go back to work and am feeling great!

October 29, 2009 at 2:14 pm
(2) Carol says:

I am supposed to have both knees replaced, one on Dec. 1, and the other on Dec. 7. How far apart did you have your knees done? I am nervous about having both knees done, but my insurance runs out end of December. Thanks.

March 30, 2010 at 6:52 am
(3) anna eileen says:

I am a 17 year old female who had my ACL repaired in November, I am wondering is it safe to return to playing softball by April. I have been running, jumping, doing core weights since February. My therapists feel I’m ready to return to the sport. My main position is catching and 3rd base. What do you think? Should I wait out the 7 month period ? Physically I feel great but mentally I’m worried of reinjury. Would wearing a brace help?

August 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm
(4) MMS says:

My husband had both of his knees replaced 6 days ago, and although it has been difficult, I think he will be pleased with the final results. I have blogged his journey thus far here if you are interested: http://milkshakesanytime.blogspot.com/2012/08/now-fun-begins.html

April 28, 2013 at 5:08 am
(5) Richard Haynes PTA says:

As a physical therapist, I have worked with a number of bilateral knee replacement patients. They have done excellent with their rehabilitation as the surgeon did a good job determining who was a candidate for the procedure in the first place.

It takes hard work and someone that is willing to extend themselves along with being self motivated to succeed.

January 16, 2014 at 4:06 pm
(6) Peter says:

I had TKR on my left knee and 7 days later I needed my right done which was scheduled for 7 weeks later. My left knee is great but my right is very slow recovering. It now 8 months after surgery and my right knee is still slowly progressing. I believe it may be another 6 months before I am back to normal. I am on my own for PT so that is also hurting my recovery but when back to normal I will be a very happy camper.

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