What to Expect:
- When Dr. Todd completes your surgery, you will have two small incisions in your knee with one stitch in each incision.
- He will place some 4 x 4’s over the incisions, roll your leg with some soft roll and then cover it with an Ace wrap.
- The Ace wrap may extend from your groin to your ankle. If the Ace wrap is too tight or too loose, you may unwrap and rewrap your leg; otherwise, the dressing will remain intact for 3 days.
- The tourniquet may cause some soreness or bruising on your thigh. This should go away in a few days.
After surgery, Dr. Todd will instruct the person who has accompanied you to surgery about your weight bearing status. There are three weight bearing statuses:
- The first is non-weight bearing. Do not put any weight on your surgical leg at all. You don’t put your foot on the floor at all. You must use your crutches or walker at all times.
- The second is toe-touch weight bearing. You may put your toe on the ground for balance only. You must use your crutches or walker at all times when walking, but when you are standing still you may put your toe on the ground.
- The third is full weight bearing with an assistive device. You will do a normal walk with the assistance of a walker or crutches, but you will use your arms to take the weight off of your surgical leg when you put your weight on that leg. As your pain decreases, you can put more weight on the surgical leg. It is very important to walk normally – do not limp or keep your leg stiff when walking.
- You must use your crutches or walker at all times until your first follow-up visit after surgery. Have them with you when you come to this visit and wear the Ace wrap on your knee. You will be advised at this appointment if you need to continue using them. Your stitches will be removed at this time.
- The first 48 hours you will need to elevate and continually ice your knee.
- To elevate your leg, lay flat in the bed with your head on a pillow, elevating your leg on several pillows.
- Your knee must be higher than your heart to keep the swelling out of your leg. If your foot or knee is swelling, then your leg is not high enough.
- You may get up to go to the bathroom or to the table to eat; otherwise, you need to be lying down with your leg elevated.
- After the first 48 hours you may get up and begin to move around your home. If your ankle or knee begins to swell, you need to elevate it. Ice as needed after the first 48 hours, but continuously ice until then.
- You are at risk for a blood clot due to the surgery and because you are not walking.
- The dressing will remain in place for 3 days.
- Sponge baths only until the dressing is removed.
- On the third day you can remove the dressing (all the way down to bare skin).
- Shower as usual, pat incision dry and apply band-aids.
- No Neosporin or Polysporin medicines– just plain band-aids.
- Change the band-aids daily and continue wearing the Ace wrap until you return for your first follow- up visit (which is usually in 6-8 days).
- Ice as needed for 20 minutes at a time after the surgical dressing is removed.
- You will be unable to drive if the surgery has been performed on your right knee. This is usually until you do not have a limp.
- If the surgery has been performed on your left knee, you will be able to drive when you can comfortably get in and out of the vehicle and are no longer taking narcotic pain medication.
- You need to remember that you have had surgery to your knee, so take things slow.
- Healing time is normally 4-6 weeks, but if you are too active it could make your knee swell. If this happens it could double your recovery time, so don’t do too much too soon.
- Dr. Todd has two exercises he would like you to start on the day of surgery: Ankle Pumps and Thigh Squeezes. Do several sets of each, 3 times a day, every day. You can do more, but not less than 3 times a day.
- Starting the day after surgery, you will add Straight Leg Lifts and Heel Slides. Do several sets of each, 3 times a day, every day.
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