Post-Operative Instructions for Knee Arthroscopy Patients

The operation was performed through two or three small incisions. You may experience some swelling in the joint. This is usually due to fluid used during the surgery for visualization. This fluid is usually reabsorbed by your body over time. You may have some bruising in the operated leg as well. This may travel down the leg with gravity.

Dressing: The dressing should stay on for at least three days after surgery. The dressing should stay dry during this period. If you decide to shower, please cover the dressing with plastic so that it stays dry. You may remove the dressing after three days and use Band-Aids to cover the incision (if you have Steri-Strips over the incision, please leave them on until instructed to remove them). Your stitches (if not absorbable) will be removed at your first visit after surgery. Please do not bathe or swim for the first 4 weeks.

Ice Machine: You may use ice packs to control the pain and swelling. Do not put the ice directly on the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes at a time, three times a day. If you have chosen to use an ice machine, it should be used for the first week. Please follow the directions given to you by the representative. The ice machine company will make arrangements for you to return the machine.

Activity: Crutches or a cane may be necessary during the first 24-48 hours or longer. You may continue using them until you are able to walk comfortably without support. You may ambulate immediately and put as much weight as is comfortable on the operated leg unless you are told otherwise. Physical therapy will be discussed at your first follow-up visit after surgery.

Medications: You will be given a prescription for pain medication. Please take the pain medication with food. Do not drink alcohol or drive if you are using pain medications.

Work: You will discuss when you can return to work with your surgeon on your first post-operative visit.

Driving: You will discuss when you can drive with your surgeon on your first post-operative visit. Generally, you need to feel close to 100% recovered with the operated knee before you can consider driving.

Follow-up: Your follow-up visit will be 6 days after surgery. If you had surgery on Tuesday, we will see you in the office on Monday. If you had surgery on Thursday, we will see you in the office on Wednesday. Please call the office to confirm.

  • Quad Sets
    Quad Sets: Tighten thigh muscle and press the back of your knee into the bed. Hold for 5 seconds and perform 10 repetitions 5 times per day.
  • Hamstring Stretch
    Hamstring Stretch: Sit with leg straight. Place towel around the top of your foot and pull foot toward you. Lean your trunk forward so you can feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Perform for 30 seconds 3-4 repetitions per day.
  • Calf Stretch
    Calf Stretch: Stand facing the wall. Place your operated leg behind the non-operated leg. Bend your front leg and lunge forward toward the wall. Keep your back heel on the floor and back knee straight so you feel a stretch in your calf. Place your hands on the wall for support. Perform for 30 seconds 3-4 repetitions per day.
  • Seated Knee Flexion
    Seated Knee Flexion: Sit on a secure chair. With the assistance of you hands, slide your heel back and bend your knee. Hold for 10 seconds, then slide foot forward while keeping it on the floor. Perform 10 repetitions 3 times per day.
  • Straight Leg Raise
    Straight Leg Raise: Keep your operated leg straight and your non-operated leg bent. Tighten the top of your thigh on the straightened leg and raise it to the height of the opposite knee. Hold for 2-3 seconds and perform 10 repetitions 3 times per day.