Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

Your Role In A Successful Recovery From Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Be grateful that your doctor has chosen arthroscopy as the way to repair your knee injury. This is a much less invasive procedure than traditional knee surgery. It may be done as an outpatient and you could go home the same day. Check out your options at a place like the Surgery Center of Kenai. After the surgery and once you are home, it will be up to you to make sure that your knee heals properly. Here are some tips to get you up on your knee quickly and back to an active life.

Get Prepared Before the Surgery

The better prepared you are to come home from the surgery, the easier your recovery will be. When you get home, you'll need to rest and take it easy. Get your home ready for your first few days by doing the following:

  • Run your normal errands for the week before you go in for the procedure.
  • Stock up on groceries and, if possible, make up some meals ahead of time to make cooking easier.
  • Ask someone to take you to your surgery and bring you home.
  • Have someone stay with you the day you get home and be on call to help you for the next several days.
  • Eat a light meal and get plenty of sleep the night before your procedure.

The Day of the Surgery

The surgery itself consists of making two short incisions on your knee. The doctor will insert a tube into one incision which contains the camera used to see inside of the knee as they work. A tube containing surgical instruments will be inserted into the other incision.

When the surgery has been completed, both incisions will be sutured and a bandage placed over them. You'll be taken to a room in which to recover from the anesthesia and then you can go home.

Now It's Up to You

Before leaving the clinic, you'll get a number of instructions for the first few days at home such as:

  • Stay off of the leg until your doctor OKs walking with crutches while touching the leg to the floor.
  • Watch the incisions for signs of redness, pain, swelling, and drainage, which may mean an infection has set in.
  • Take your antibiotics as instructed by your doctor.
  • Take your pain medication as directed without skipping doses even if you feel comfortable.

After a few days, you'll be allowed to walk with crutches while putting light weight on the leg. You'll also start physical therapy (PT) on your own and with a therapist. Physical therapy is now important to getting back the normal movement in your knee. To make this a successful experience:

  • Set a pace with your therapist that you can stick with to make incremental progress.
  • Learn your limits of movement and activity and never exceed them.
  • Time your pain medication so you take it before you exercise or have PT.
  • If you skip exercise or PT because of pain or fatigue, let your doctor know.
  • As you begin to feel stronger and more capable, stick to your exercise program. This is when people overdo it and set their recovery back.

Throughout your recovery period, stick to your exercise and PT plan. Know your limits each day and don't exceed them. Report any unusual sensations in your knee to the doctor immediately. In a few weeks, you'll have normal movement in your knee and be ready to get back to your active life.