Travel after surgery

Following any operation on your knee you will have some pain and swelling, for the first few weeks you are unlikely to be safe to drive a car or do an emergency stop.

You are free to drive when you feel able, it is your own responsibility to decide when you are safe, practising somewhere quiet with another driver is normally a good idea at first. For joint replacement surgery most patients can drive by six weeks, arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery is usually less troublesome and most patients can drive by between 2 and 4 weeks. Some operations (micro fracture, meniscal repair, LCL and PCL reconstruction) require a period of protected weight bearing following surgery and you will not be safe to drive during this period.

It is important to be aware of the risks of travelling after knee surgery.

For straightforward daycase operations there is only a very small increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), it is recommended that you do not fly long haul in the immediate post operative period. For any short haul flights, long journeys by car or train you should take regular breaks to mobilise and drink plenty of water.

For joint replacement surgery the risk of DVT is higher and you should try to avoid long journeys by air, car or rail for the first 6 weeks, following that the same precautions should be taken. If you do need to travel long distance in the early recovery period following joint replacement then please discuss this with Mr Gallacher so that the individual risks to yourself can be minimised.

As both total and partial knee replacements are made of metal they can set off security detectors at the airport, patients are encouraged to plan ahead to avoid delays when travelling and inform security staff of any joint replacements.