You had surgery to check for problems in your knee (knee arthroscopy). You may have been checked for:
You may be able to put weight on your knee in the first week after having this surgery. Most people can return to their normal activities within the first month. You may need to be on crutches for a while. Ask your doctor if there are activities you should limit.
If you have a more complicated knee arthroscopy procedure, you may not be able to walk for several weeks. You may also need to use crutches or a knee brace. Full recovery may take several months to a year.
Pain is normal after knee arthroscopy. It should get better over time.
Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medicine. Get it filled when you go home so that you have it when you need it. Take your pain medicine when as soon as pain starts. This will prevent it from getting too bad.
You may have received a nerve block, so you don't feel pain during and after surgery. Make sure you take your pain medicine. The nerve block will wear off, and pain can return very quickly.
Taking ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medicine may also help. Ask your doctor what other medicines are safe to take with your pain medicine.
Do NOT drive if you are taking narcotic pain medicine. This medicine may make you too sleepy to drive safely.
Your doctor will ask you to rest when you first go home. Keep your leg propped up on 1 or 2 pillows. Place the pillows under your foot or calf muscle. This helps control swelling in your knee.
For most procedures, you may start to put weight on your leg soon after surgery, unless your doctor or nurse tells you NOT to.
Ask your doctor when you can return to work or drive again.
You will have a dressing and an ace bandage around your knee when you go home. Do not remove these until your doctor or nurse says it is okay. Keep the dressing and bandage clean and dry.
Place an ice pack on your knee 4 to 6 times a day for the first 2 or 3 days. Be careful not to get the dressing wet. Do NOT use a heating pad.
Keep the ace bandage on until your doctor or nurse tells you it is okay to remove it.
When you shower, wrap your leg in plastic to keep it from getting wet until your stitches or tape (Steri-Strips) have been removed. After that, you may get the incisions wet when you shower. Be sure to dry the area well.
Call your doctor or nurse if:
Knee scope - arthroscopic lateral retinacular release - discharge; Synovectomy - discharge; Patellar debridement - discharge; Meniscus repair - discharge; Lateral release - discharge; Collateral ligament repair – discharge; Knee surgery - discharge
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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