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M.S. ORTH (Pune),M.Sc., ORTH. (London) Dipl. LAMP (CARDIFF)
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Knee Arthroscopy
  Your Recovery at Home
 
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Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery. Still, it is important to follow your orthopaedic surgeon's instructions carefully after you return home. You should ask someone to check on you that evening.

Swelling Keep your leg elevated as much as possible for the first few days after surgery. Apply ice as recommended by your orthopaedic surgeon to relieve swelling and pain.
   
 
Dressing Care You will leave the hospital with a dressing covering your knee. You may remove the dressing the day after surgery. You may shower, but should avoid directing water at the incisions. Do not soak in a tub. Keep your incisions clean and dry.

Your orthopaedic surgeon will see you in the office a few days after surgery to check your progress, review the surgical findings, and begin your postoperative treatment program.

Bearing Weight After most arthroscopic surgeries, you can walk unassisted but your orthopaedic surgeon may advise you to use crutches, a cane, or a walker for a period of time after surgery. You can gradually put more weight on your leg as your discomfort subsides and you regain strength in your knee. Your surgeon may allow you to drive after a week.
 
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Exercises to Strengthen Your Knee You should exercise your knee regularly for several weeks following surgery to strengthen the muscles of your leg and knee. A physical therapist may help you with your exercise program if your orthopaedic surgeon recommends specific exercises.

Medications Your orthopaedic surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent an infection and pain medication to help relieve discomfort following your surgery.
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Complications Potential postoperative problems with knee arthroscopy include infection, blood clots, and an accumulation of blood in the knee. These occur infrequently and are minor and treatable.

   
  Warning Signs
   
 
Call your orthopaedic surgeon immediately if you experience any of the following:
 
» Fever.
» Chills.
» Persistent warmth or redness around the knee.
» Persistent or increased pain.
» Significant swelling in your knee.
» Increasing pain in your calf muscle.
» Shortness of breath or chest pain.
 
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Reasonable Expectations After Arthroscopic Surgery

   
 
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Although arthroscopy can be used to treat many problems, you may have some activity limitations even after recovery. The outcome of your surgery will often be determined by the degree of injury or damage found in your knee. For example, if you damage your knee from jogging and the smooth articular cushion of the weight-bearing portion of the knee has worn away completely, then full recovery may not be possible. You may be advised to find a low-impact alternative form of exercise. An intercollegiate or professional athlete often sustains the same injury as a weekend recreational athlete, but the potential for recovery may be improved by the over-development of knee muscles. Physical exercise and rehabilitation will play an important role in your final outcome.

A formal physical therapy program also may add something to your final result.

 


A return to intense physical activity should only be done under the direction of your surgeon.

It is reasonable to expect that by six to eight weeks you should be able to engage in most of your former physical activities as long as they do not involve significant weight-bearing impact. Twisting maneuvers may have to be avoided for a longer time.

If your job involves heavy work, such as a construction laborer, you may require more time to return to your job than if you have a sedentary job.

 
Your orthopaedic surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive training in the diagnosis and nonsurgical and surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.
 
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