Care After Arthroscopy
• Keep the leg elevated as much as you can for 48 hours to reduce swelling. If you are lying down, rest the leg on 2 or more pillows. Use the pillow to support the length of the lower leg, keeping the knee straight. Do not let the leg hang down.
• You may use ice to lessen the pain and swelling. Put an ice pack on the knee for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take the ice off. You can put the ice on again after 1 hour.
• Slowly increase the amount of weight you bear (pressure) on the leg, (unless your doctor has given you other instructions). Slowly return to your normal activity level. Use crutches until you can walk comfortably.
• You should begin the home exercise program in 24 hours. (Instructions are included.)You will discuss Physical Therapy for after surgery during your pre-op clinic visit.
If your meniscus is stitched (repaired) you will be locked in a brace and using crutches. Your doctor will discuss with you the length of time your brace will be locked.
• After 2 days you can remove all of the dressing and shower. Cover the incision with a plastic wrap such as Glad Press n Seal or a plastic bag with the edges taped down. Do not let the water run under the plastic wrap or bag.
No swimming, hot tub, bath tub or other under water activities for 2 weeks following surgery.
• Dr. Baer’s patients after 3 days may remove all of the dressings and shower. You may shower with no plastic wrap, allowing the incisions to get wet.
• Dr. Baer’s patients, no swimming, hot tub, bath tub or other under water activities for 3 weeks following surgery.
• Change the Band-Aids® daily. Use the Ace wrap or TED stocking for comfort and swelling if needed until your follow-up visit or until told otherwise.
• If you have steri-strips (thin white tapes) instead of stitches, leave them in place until they start to peel off in about 7-10 days.
You may be given an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen or Naprosyn to reduce swelling and pain and to reduce the risk of getting a blood clot. You may also be given Tyleno ®with codeine or another narcotic such as Vicodin. Follow the instructions given to you by your pharmacist. Do not drink alcohol or drive while on narcotic pain medicines.
When to Call the Doctor
Call if you have any of the symptoms listed below.
• Red, hot incision
• Pus-like foul smelling drainage from incision
• Temperature above 100.4° F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart
• Bleeding which increases over an hour’s time
• Calf tenderness or swelling, or a warm, reddened area noted in the calf of either leg
You will be scheduled for a follow-up clinic visit with your doctor. Please call if you have any questions or concerns.
Sports Medicine Clinic
After hours call the clinic number and your call will be forward to the paging operator. Ask for the orthopedic resident on call. Leave your name and phone number. The doctor will call you back.
24 Hour Toll Free Number
The Spanish version of this HFFY is #6395.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/09/2012
Copyright © 10/08/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4262
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