Knee Surgery Recovery Timeline

If you’ve finally decided to move forward with your knee surgery, you may now be wondering what to expect for recuperation. Depending upon your overall health and the type of repairs your knee surgeon needs to make, your recovery schedule may vary.

Meniscus Repairs or Removal 

Meniscus surgery is typically done arthroscopically, which is a minimally invasive surgery method using a small incision to insert tiny instruments for the purposes of inspecting and repairing the affected part. The meniscus may also be removed completely using this technique. Recovery from meniscus surgery will vary depending upon whether the meniscus is removed or repaired. Removal has a recovery period of 4-6 weeks, and repair may take a few months longer than removal. In either case, rehabilitation or physical therapy is essential.

ACL Repairs

Your ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is part of your knee especially vulnerable to injury during contact sports and skiing. Badly twisting or hyperextending your knee may rupture or tear the ACL, requiring surgical correction. ACL repairs could take anywhere from 4-9 months or longer to heal, depending on severity of the damage and adherence to rehabilitation. ACL repair is another surgery that is usually performed arthroscopically, lessening the surgical recovery time and allowing the patient to begin physical therapy more quickly. 

Knee Replacement

Replacement surgery may be a good choice for a patient with severe arthritis or other disease in the knee joint. During a replacement, your knee surgeon will make a 3-5 inch incision, remove the bad tissue and cartilage, and install a device made of alloys, polymers, and plastics. The doctor will have you up and moving the day after surgery. You may walk with the assistance of a walker or cane for 4-6 weeks, but after that should need minimal support. While recovering and rehabilitating, it’s important to do no pivoting or twisting on the knee, and no running or jumping.

Whichever type of surgery you must undergo, the best advice is for you to follow your knee surgeon’s instruction carefully. Adhere to rehabilitation schedules and work hard toward your recovery. The more compliant you are with recommendations from your orthopaedic expert, the more quickly you will be back on your feet. Be sure to ask your knee surgeon for a written plan for your recovery, as that will help you clearly understand and remember what measures to take for an effective recuperation.

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