The results of a new study could have a significant positive impact for knee replacement surgery patients. Usually, patients are told not to shower for two weeks after their surgery to avoid getting the incision wet and risking infection. However, new research suggests that this might not be needed.
Many knee patients struggle with this two week ban on showering, so this is relieving news.
According to the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Harold Rees of Loyola University Medical Center, the bacterial swabs of surgery patients who followed the two-week rule and the swabs of patients who showered two days after surgery showed no differences.
The study included 32 patients who had just undergone a knee replacement. Half of the patients were told to shower after two weeks, while the other half were told they could shower after two days, as soon as their surgical bandages were removed.
None of the patients from either group developed an infection. The patients who had been able to shower after two days also self-reported being happier than those who had to wait two weeks. For both groups, being able to shower was one of the top priorities during recovery. Nearly all of the participants said they would prefer to shower sooner than two weeks after surgery.
Recovery from any kind of surgery can be painful and frustrating, and this frustration is often exacerbated when patients aren’t permitted to fully shower. Being able to take care of personal hygiene can improve patients’ overall happiness and well-being during recovery and make the process seem more manageable.
Dr. Rees is positive about the study’s findings, but says that a larger study is needed to determine long-term effects of showering sooner after surgery. Hopefully, more research on this subject will be performed in coming years, and knee replacement patients will be able to shower sooner after their surgery is complete.