What To Expect After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

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It is normal to have swelling and discomfort in the knee for several days or a week following your arthroscopic knee surgery. Apply ice bags or use the Cryocuff you were given to control swelling. Ice should be applied 20-30 minutes at a time, every hour or two. Put a thin towel or T-shirt next to your skin if using ice in a plastic bag. Icing is most important in the first 72 hours, although many people find that continuing it lessens their postoperative pain.

If you had a nerve block, the local anaesthetic may keep your leg numb for several hours. You will be given a prescription for powerful pain medication when you are discharged from the hospital. If you find you do not tolerate it well, call our office and we will try another one.

Keep the leg elevated. This will prevent swelling and help decrease pain. The leg must be elevated higher than the level of your heart.

Pump your ankle up and down. This should be done several times an hour to keep the blood circulating in your leg and to help prevent blood clots from forming.

Keep the postop dressing clean and dry. Unless it becomes wet or too tight because of swelling, leave the bandages in place for at least two days. Remove your bandages two days after surgery. Cover the small incisions with Band-Aids to keep them from snagging the sutures on clothes. You may shower then, but keep the incisions dry for the first 10-14 days. Do not wet your incisions directly (bathing or swimming) until at least 2 weeks postop.

The sutures are absorbable and do not need to be removed.

Dr. Millett would like to see you back in the office 10-14 days after surgery. If you don’t have your first post-op visit scheduled, call our office to make one.

Start your postoperative rehabilitation/physical therapy right away (refer to rehab manuals). Your physical therapy program is key to a successful outcome. It should be started the day after surgery. A separate prescription will outline the protocol. It often helps to call before surgery to make an appointment with your physical therapist.

Be in the care of a responsible adult.

Abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages and from smoking.

You may eat a regular diet, if not nauseated. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids.

Plan to take a few days off work.

Contact Dr. Peter Millett, M.D. for more information on what to expect after arthroscopic knee surgery or for additional resources on other knee related injuries.

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