What to expect after arthroscopic knee surgery?

arthroscopy recovery

What to expect after arthroscopic knee surgery?

How long does it take to walk after arthroscopic knee surgery?

How long will my knee hurt after arthroscopic surgery?
Can you drive after arthroscopic knee surgery?


what to expect after arthroscopic knee surgery?

How long it takes to recover after an arthroscopy will depend on your general health, the joint involved and the specific procedure you had.
Some people feel better after a few days, while others may not be back to normal for several months.

Recovery advice

You'll probably feel tired and light-headed after having a general anaesthetic, so you'll need to ask someone to take you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery. Most people will recover from the effects of the anaesthetic within 48 hours.
Make sure you elevate the joint and apply ice packs to help reduce the swelling when you get home, if advised to do so. You should also do any joint exercises that have been recommended for you.

Keep dressings as dry as possible by covering them with a plastic bag when having a bath or shower. If your dressings get wet or fall off, they'll need to be replaced. Dressings can usually be removed after 5 to 10 days.Your wounds should start to heal within a few days. If non-dissolvable stitches were used, they'll need to be removed after a week or two. This can usually be done by a practice nurse at your local GP surgery.You'll have a follow-up appointment a few weeks after the operation to discuss the results of the surgery, your recovery, and any additional treatment you may need.


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How can you care for yourself at home?
  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover. Use pillows to raise your ankle and leg above the level of your heart.
  • Try to walk each day, after your doctor has said you can. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • You may have a brace or crutches or both.
  • Your doctor will tell you how often and how much you can move your leg and knee.
  • If you have a desk job, you may be able to return to work a few days after the surgery. If you lift things or stand or walk a lot at work, it may be as long as 2 months before you can return.
  • You can take a shower 48 to 72 hours after surgery and clean the incisions with regular soap and water. Do not take a bath or soak your knee until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • If you had a repair of torn tissue, follow your doctor's instructions for lifting things or moving your knee.
  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, unless your doctor tells you not to.
  • You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. You may want to take a fibre supplement every day. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative.


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  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
Incision care
  • If you have a dressing over your cuts (incisions), keep it clean and dry. You may remove it 48 to 72 hours after the surgery.
  • If your incisions are open to the air, keep the area clean and dry.
  • If you have strips of tape on the incisions, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • Move your toes and ankle as much as your bandages will allow.
  • Bend and straighten your knee slowly several times during the day.
  • Depending on why you had the surgery, you may have to do ankle and leg exercises. Your doctor or physiotherapist will give you exercises as part of a rehabilitation program.
  • Stop any activity that causes sharp pain. Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist about what sports or other exercise you can do.
Ice and elevation
  • To reduce swelling and pain, put ice or a cold pack on your knee for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Do this every 1 to 2 hours. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.


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What to expect after arthroscopic knee surgery?

Knee arthroscopy is less invasive than open forms of surgery. A surgeon can diagnose issues and operate using a very small tool, an arthroscope, which they pass through an incision in the skin. After arthroscopy You will feel tired for several days. Your knee will be swollen, and you may notice that your skin is a different color near the cuts (incisions). The swelling is normal and will start to go away in a few days. Keeping your leg higher than your heart will help with swelling and pain.

Knee arthroscopy surgery may be helpful in diagnosing a range of problems, including:

  • persistent joint pain and stiffness
  • damaged cartilage
  • floating fragments of bone or cartilage
  • a buildup of fluid, which must be drained

In most of these cases, arthroscopy is all that is needed. People may choose it instead of other surgical procedures because arthroscopy often involves:

  • less tissue damage
  • a faster healing time
  • fewer stitches
  • less pain after the procedure
  • a lower risk of infection, because smaller incisions are made

However, arthroscopy may not be for everyone. There is little evidence that people with degenerative diseases or osteoarthritis can benefit from knee arthroscopy.


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How long does it take to walk after arthroscopic knee surgery?

Patients may opt to use crutches or a walker for a few days after surgery. Once more comfortable, most people are able to walk with a minimal limp within one or two weeks after surgery. Most patients realize a benefit from arthroscopic knee surgery within 4 to 6 weeks. The recovery period after knee arthroscopy surgery depends on the patient and his or her condition. For most cases, patients can return to office work within a week. And many return to a more active and normal lifestyle within one to two months.

How long will my knee hurt after arthroscopic surgery?

Many people experience knee pain, popping or cracking, or swelling following their  surgery. Pain is quite common, most often in the area where you had pain before surgery, in the soft tissues below the knee cap, over the athroscopy wounds and occasionally the whole knee. The pain settles usually within two to three weeks, but may take upwards of six weeks. Swelling in the whole knee up to six weeks.

Can you drive after arthroscopic knee surgery?

You should refrain from driving for at least 1 week after an arthroscopic knee operation, until the swelling reduces and the knee motion improves, but you should establish with your doctor when it is safe to start driving. You can drive when you are no longer using crutches or a knee brace, are no longer taking prescription pain medicine, and have some control over your knee. This usually takes 1 to 2 weeks.


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10 common question about Arthroscopy Recovery

1How long does it take to walk after arthroscopic knee surgery?
If necessary due to pain, patients may opt to use crutches or a walker for a few days after surgery. Once more comfortable, most people are able to walk with a minimal limp within one or two weeks after surgery. Most patients realize a benefit from arthroscopic knee surgery within 4 to 6 weeks.
2How long does swelling last after arthroscopic knee surgery?
3 to 6 months According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, swelling can last for 3 to 6 months after surgery. It's a good idea to invest in an ice pack. Ice packs are very effective for reducing swelling and inflammation in your knee joint and the surrounding tissue.
3What can I expect after arthroscopic knee surgery?
What To Expect After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery. 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.
4What are the complications of arthroscopy?
The possible complications following a knee arthroscopy include: Infection. Thrombophlebitis (clots in a vein) Artery damage. Excessive bleeding (haemorrhage) Allergic reaction to the anaesthesia. Nerve damage. Numbness at the incision sites. Ongoing pain in the calf and foot.
5Can you climb stairs after arthroscopic knee surgery?
Walking, standing, stair climbing, etc… are not good for the knee for the first week after surgery so don't walk or stand anymore than is necessary until the discomfort and swelling from the procedure are gone. ... We will get you back to as much as possible, as soon as your knee allows.
6How long will I be off work after a knee arthroscopy?
You will probably need about 6 weeks to recover. If your doctor repaired damaged tissue, recovery will take longer. You may have to limit your activity until your knee strength and movement return to normal. You may also be in a physical rehabilitation (rehab) program.
7How do you reduce swelling after knee arthroscopy?
Ice and elevation To reduce swelling and pain, put ice or a cold pack on your knee for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. ... For 3 days after surgery, prop up the sore leg on a pillow when you ice it or anytime you sit or lie down. ... If your doctor gave you support stockings, wear them as long as he or she tells you to.
8Is arthroscopy a major surgery?
Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure doctors use to look at, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint. Your doctor may recommend it if you have inflammation in a joint, have injured a joint, or have damaged a joint over time. You can have arthroscopy on any joint.
9What should I wear after knee arthroscopy?
Wear loose, comfortable clothing — baggy gym shorts, for example, if you're having knee arthroscopy — so you can dress easily after the procedure.
10How soon after arthroscopy can I exercise?
Initial Exercises After Knee Arthroscopy As always, you should discuss starting any exercise program with your orthopedic surgeon prior to initiating it. Most physicians will approve an early rehabilitation program, however, others may ask you to wait a week or so after your procedure.

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