Postoperative instructions for Arthroscopic Surgery – Knee

Below you will find detailed instructions to guide you through recovery from your arthroscopic surgery. It is important that any concerns or questions you have be addressed to your doctor. Following your doctor’s recommendations will help speed your recovery and rehabilitation process.

The Day of Surgery

  • Following the surgical procedure, a local anesthetic or numbing medicine was placed inside your knee. This should provide pain relief for three to four hours. Be sure not to strain the knee while it is numb. Also, be sure you take the pain medicines as soon as your knee begins to hurt
  • Ice and elevation are important for the first 48 hours after surgery. Be sure to elevate the ankle higher than the knee, and keep the knee higher than the heart. Keep ice applied
  • Crutches are provided, but you may put weight on your affected knee as tolerated unless you are told differently by your surgeon
  • You may shower as long as the dressing is kept clean and dry

Day One After Surgery

  • You should begin your exercises which consist of range of motion exercises, and extension and strengthening exercises for the knee. Your doctor should have already reviewed these exercises with you and provided a handout illustrating these exercises
  • Over the next one to two days, you should start weaning off of the crutches. Once again, put only as much weight as you can tolerate on the affected knee
  • Continue ice, elevation, and pain medicines as needed, or as directed by your doctor

Day Two After Surgery

The dressing covering your incision will be changed today. First, remove the outer wrap and cotton wrap from around the knee. Directly over the incisions are stitches or small pieces of paper tape, called steri-strips. Be sure to leave these in place as the dressing is removed. Bandages may be applied over these stitches or steri-strips. A knee sleeve may be worn if needed, or an elastic bandage may be used to apply some pressure,which may help limit swelling. You need to keep your knee clean and dry when bathing for at least two weeks after the surgery

Two Weeks After Surgery

You will need to schedule an appointment to see your doctor two weeks after your surgery. At this appointment, you should be walking without crutches and should have between 0 to 120 degrees range of motion in the knee. You should also be working on regaining strength in the quadriceps

Call Your Physician If:

  • Your temperature is greater than 101.5 degrees, or you experience persistent chills
  • There is persistent numbness and tingling in the foot. The dressing may need to be loosened. This may be done by unwrapping the dressing, or by splitting the dressing down the side with a pair of scissors. If the numbness and tingling does not improve after this, you need to talk to your doctor
  • You experience bleeding greater than 6 inches in diameter. Bleeding that spreads less than 6 inches in diameter may be treated by reinforcing the dressing, ice, and elevation
  • You have constant severe pain which is unrelieved with medications, elevation, and ice

For information about arthroscopic knee surgery, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).