Post Knee Arthroscopy Tips

A knee arthroscopy is the most common procedure in all of orthopedics.  Arthroscopy of the knee requires a few simple things to be done by the patient to achieve optimal results.  With most arthroscopies, the patient can fully weight bear immediately after surgery.  An exception to this rule is when the arthroscopy involves a meniscal tear or micro fracture technique which may require the patient to be non-weight bearing for up to six weeks postoperatively.  If the surgeon specifies that you can be fully weight bearing, please be aware that crutches are comfort measure only and can be discontinued at the patient’s discretion.  If the patient needs to be limited weight bearing postoperatively, the surgeon will specify this to the patient and family on the day of surgery.  The wrap on the knee can be removed 2-3 days postoperatively.  The surgeon will have either placed subcutaneous absorbable stitches that will dissolve within a few weeks or nylon stitches that will have to be removed within 2 weeks in the surgeons office.  Often times, the surgeon will also ask the patient to take aspirin postoperatively to prevent blood clots.  A dose of aspirin 325mg once or twice a day for three weeks  postoperatively is a reasonable dose for DVT prophylaxis.

One of the most important things that a patient can do postoperatively is to participate in physical therapy.  Although therapy often involves a significant financial commitment by the patient in terms of copays, therapy can often be invaluable in  ensuring the patient receives an optimal surgical result.  After surgery, the knee is often swollen.  The therapist will try to decrease the swelling through early range of motion exercise.  Excessive swelling will result in arthrorfibrosis (excessive scarring of a joint), quadriceps muscle atrophy, and will generally limit the gains that can be achieved surgically.  Omitting therapy from your early post operative regiment may result in complications that maybe difficult to rectify at a later date.

Overall, a simple knee arthroscopy, requires less intrusion on the patient’s life as compared to shoulder arthroscopy or bigger knee surgeries such as ACL reconstruction or knee replacement.  Nonetheless, the patient can help themselves achieve an optimal outcome by following the above tips.

Written by Dr. Frank Moussa

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