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Should You Have Both Knees Replaced at the Same Time?

Knee SurgeryWhether you have the battered knees of an athlete or you find that knee pain is slowing you down as you age, you likely know you may need a knee replacement soon. But if both knees hurt, should you have them replaced at the same time?

You can, says orthopedic surgeon Kenneth Greene, MD. But there are risks that come with having the two surgeries simultaneously.

“I explain to every patient that, clearly, knee replacement is a major operation,” he says. “When we do two at the same time, it puts more stress and strain on your body.”

If you’re considering simultaneous knee replacements, which also is known as bilateral replacement, here’s what you should know.

Why have simultaneous knee replacements?
The main benefit of bilateral knee replacements is convenience, Dr. Greene says. It’s one surgery time, one time away from work and one recovery period.

Other than that, there are no specific medical benefits to having both knees replaced at the same time.

Simultaneous surgeries may shorten your rehabilitation, he says. But you’ll still need to adopt an aggressive approach to your strength and flexibility training to maximize your recovery.

What are the risks of bilateral surgery?