Post Operative Knee Arthroscopy FAQs
Do you need a knee brace after meniscus surgery?
Most of the patients do not require a knee brace after a meniscectomy, but if the patient undergoes a meniscus repair done, a knee brace or a knee immobilizer is provided to prevent the bending of the knee while bearing weight which can cause retearing of the repair of the meniscus.
Can you walk right after arthroscopic knee surgery?
The patients are mostly allowed to walk immediately after arthroscopic knee surgeries. In cases the patients undergo meniscus repair or ligament reconstruction, they are given a brace to support the knee in full extension. If the patient is not comfortable walking without an aid, then they are usually provided with axillary crutches. If the patient has had his/her nerves blocked prior or after the arthroscopic surgery, then they may not be able to bear full weight on the leg for the next 24 hours and are specifically informed about preventing falls due to the weakness in the leg.
Will I need somebody do accompany me home from the hospital?
The patient will not be able to drive back from the hospital after the surgery. They are advised to bring a friend or family member with them to drive them home back from the hospital. Occasionally the surgery center may help provide transport to the patient back to home.
Can I leave my nail polish, braiding, and engagement rings on?
The patients are encouraged to remove all jewelries before coming in for the surgery. The patient can have nail polish if it is not easily removable. In case the rings and jewelry are not removable, then they are taped during the surgery to prevent burns that may be caused due to the use of cautery device during the surgery.
Are there discharge instructions for knee arthroscopic surgery?
All the patients who are discharged after a surgery are provided with discharge instructions to take care of themselves while at home. These instructions have information regarding medications, bracing, crutches, activities etc. They are also informed to take an appointment with he physician usually in one week after the surgery.
What are the advantages of knee arthroscopic surgery?
There are multiple advantages of arthroscopic surgery, including decreased time of surgery, decreased time for recovery, decreased blood loss, better visualization and repair, decreased stiffness of the knee and superior results as compared to open surgeries.
How soon can I be back to competitive sports after knee arthroscopy?
Return to sport is usually depends on the type of surgery that the patient has undergone. If the patient has undergone a simple surgery like partial meniscectomy, then they may return to physical therapy and sports rehab in two to six weeks and may be back to sports in 8 to 10 weeks. If the patient has undergone procedures like meniscus repair or ligamentous repair or reconstruction, then it may take longer time to return to play. The patients with ACL reconstruction may take up to 6 to 12 months to be able to return to the same level of competitive play as they were before the injury.
Should I expect a lot of swelling after a knee arthroscopy?
The patients usually may develop swelling after arthroscopic procedures of the knee. When the patient takes off their dressing on third day after surgery, they may still see that the knee has considerable swelling. The patients are encouraged to elevate and use ice along with medications to decrease the swelling and pain. The swelling is usually controlled within a week of the surgery. The patients, who undergo ligamentous reconstruction or procedures like lateral release, may have prolonged swelling. Rarely a prolonged effusion may need aspiration of blood from the knee.
Will I be able to drive a car after a knee arthroscopy?
The patients who undergo surgeries like partial meniscectomy may be able to drive the car once they are able to walk unaided as well as use their knee without discomfort. If the patient is wearing a brace on the right leg then they will not be able to drive the car till the brace is discarded and they have regained good range of motion and power in their right lower extremity. The patient with brace on the left knee may still be able to drive cars which are not stick-shift. Patients should be off pain medications before driving the car.
How successful is knee arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis?
Knee arthroscopic surgery just for osteoarthritis usually has the short-term relief in pain and swelling but if the patient has complications secondary to arthritis that may be causing the worsening of pain, then these patients have good results in pain relief as well as improvement in function. Examination along with radiological tests like x-ray and MRI are helpful to select such patients.
How important are exercises for arthroscopic knee surgery?
Exercises are of paramount importance in recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery. The patients who undergo reconstructive surgeries or repair of the ligaments or the meniscus, need prolonged physical therapy to get back to the level of activities as before the injury.
Are there any sports that should be avoided following knee arthroscopic surgery?
The patients who have undergone successful knee arthroscopic surgery are usually allowed to participate in activities and sports as they would wish to after proper rehabilitation and regaining of power, strength and movement in the knee.
Is there anything I can do long-term to look after my knee after the arthroscopy?
The patients are usually advised to continue long-term stretching and strengthening of the knee to keep the knee in good health and avoid long-term effects of the injury as well as the surgery.
These questions have been personally answered by:
I am Vedant Vaksha, Fellowship trained Spine, Sports and Arthroscopic Surgeon at Complete Orthopedics. I take care of patients with ailments of the neck, back, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle. I personally approve this content and have written most of it myself.
Please take a look at my profile page and don't hesitate to come in and talk.