If you have recently had knee surgery, you may be wondering what adaptations you need to make around the house. One area of concern you may have is the bathroom. Specifically, do you need a raised toilet seat for your bathroom?

A raised toilet seat may not be necessary, but it can relieve a lot of pressure from your knee. For this reason, it is recommended, and some doctors may prescribe its use.

Why Would I Need a Raised Toilet Seat After Knee Surgery?

You need a raised toilet seat after surgery if your current toilet is not high enough to reach the crease at the back of your knee when standing. The toilet needs to be this tall to avoid putting too much pressure on your knee.

Benefits of a Raised Toilet Seat

Having a raised toilet seat provides several benefits for someone with recent knee surgery, and some of the benefits are listed below.

  • With a raised toilet seat installed, you have less distance to cover when getting on and off the toilet.
  • A raised toilet seat allows you to use the toilet with less strain on the knee from lowering to sit on the toilet and raising yourself back up.
  • A raised toilet seat increases the likelihood of being able to use the toilet independently.

Types of Raised Toilet Seats

There are three primary types of raised toilet seats.

Toilet Base Riser:  This option takes more work to install; however, some prefer the look. Notably, this method actually raises the base of the toilet rather than the actual toilet seat. 

This option would be better for someone concerned about a slow recovery since it is a permanent adaptation.

Elevated Toilet Seat: An elevated toilet seat replaces your current toilet seat, making it a sturdy option for adapting your toilet.

Toilet Seat Riser: This option works well for people wanting a more temporary adaptation. It uses an attachment to lift your current toilet seat. Thus, you can simply remove the attachment when you no longer need a raised toilet seat.

Features of Raised Toilet Seats

It essential to get the features you need in a raised toilet seat to help you during your recovery and speed your recovery along. Several common features are listed below.

Installation: Although installing most raised toilet seats is easy, if you have to install it yourself, you’ll need it to be very easy. Therefore, you may want one of the models that simply press on the current seat to install.

Toilet Height: Toilet height is a crucial feature for someone recovering from knee surgery as the seat needs to reach the crease at the back of your knee. This height keeps you from bending too far, thus straining your knee.

Padded Seat: A padded seat is excellent for comfort; however, unfortunately, you’ll probably have to give up some height for comfort. Generally, padded seats only come in 1 to 2-inch heights.

Handles: Handles can help someone when they are getting on or off the toilet, which is an excellent addition for someone recovering from knee surgery. However, someone needs to make sure the person that will be using the toilet has sufficient space.

Portability: It is possible to buy a lightweight, portable toilet if you need it.

Weight Capacity: Raised toilet seats can have different weight capacities, so be careful to choose one with the necessary capacity.

How to Install a Toilet Base Riser

A toilet base riser not only raises the entire toilet but extends the soil pipe as well. To install one, follow these steps.

  1. Turn off the water. To do this, screw the water supply valve behind your toilet clockwise until it stops.
  2. Drain the tank. Flush the toilet until the water stops pouring into the bowl. Use towels or a sponge to get the last of the water.
  3. Remove the water supply hose. This is screwed onto the bottom of the fill valve on the left side of the toilet
  4. Unfasten the toilet. Remove the caps located on the very bottom of the toilet on either side. The nuts fastening the toilet will now be exposed. Twist them counterclockwise using a socket or combination wrench.
  5. Pull the toilet aside. Lift it up and set it on some newspaper or other disposable material to protect your floor.
  6. Remove the wax seal. The seal may be broken and sticking to the toilet’s underside as well as the floor side of the sealing surface. Clean both surfaces off for the new seals.
  7. Replace the closet bolts. Your toilet base riser should come with longer closet bolts to pass through the base riser. Slide the old bolt along the flange bolt rail and out; reverse this to install the longer ones.
  8. Place the new bottom wax seal. Your kit should come with 2 wax seals; place one of these in the flange.
  9. Install the soil pipe extension. This should slide over the closet bolts. Place one set of nuts onto the closet bolts and use them to tighten down the soil pipe extension.
  10. Place the base riser. Slide the base riser over the closet bolts using the set of holes that leaves the base where desired. Any set of holes will work; it just allows you to customize its placement.
  11. Install the toilet. Put the other wax seal onto the bottom of the toilet where the original wax seal was located. Lift the toilet over the closet bolts.
  12. Finish. Install the nuts and cap over the closet bolts. Reattach the water supply; use the extension hose if necessary, and turn it back on. Test your newly upgraded toilet to make sure it works, and that water is not leaking.

How to Install a Raised Toilet Seat

These toilet seats typically do not even require removing your existing toilet seat. To install, you must:

  1. Raise your existing toilet seat.
  2. Press your new raised toilet seat into your toilet bowl until any flanges have clicked into place.
  3. Set any clamps and/or adjustment knobs your seat may include.

How to Install a Toilet Seat Riser

A toilet seat riser connects similarly to a raised toilet seat. However, this allows you to connect your lid and sometimes seat to your riser. Follow these steps to install. 

  1. Remove your existing seat. There usually have 2 bolts, each with a nut located under either side of your bowl. Remove these to take the seat off.
  2. Install the riser. To do this, just position the riser over the bow and push down until it clicks.
  3. Attach the lid and seat. Typically, the riser has its own seat and only uses the lid. If this is the case, just use a screwdriver to remove the seat from the hinges. Screw the lid into the included hinges

How Long Should I Use a Raised Toilet Seat?

You need to use the raised toilet seat for however long your surgeon recommends to avoid straining your knee. However, it is possible you may want to use the seat even longer if using it makes you more comfortable. 

Also, you might want to keep the seat around after you remove it. Notably, this could be a good idea since insurance companies may limit how often they are willing to cover the cost.