Post-Operative Knee Arthroscopy Instructions

Thank you for choosing Dr. Berman and Arlington Orthopedic Associates to help you with your treatment needs. Please read this information carefully to answer many of the more common questions following your procedure.

 What is knee arthroscopy?

 Arthroscopy (a surgical technique using small incisions) allows your doctor to see and work inside your knee. It is used to find the cause and treat many joint problems. Because the incisions are so small, recovery requires less time and is less painful. For more information, please refer to the knee animations section in this web site.

 Some things to anticipate:

 1.   You will be required to have a pre-operative work-up 5-7 days before surgery. This work-up may include lab work, EKG, and/or x-rays.

  1. Knee arthroscopy is done as outpatient surgery. You will go home within a few hours after your surgery. You will need someone to bring you to the hospital and to drive you home.     
  2. When you awaken from anesthesia, you will have a large dressing and ice pack on your knee. You may weight-bear as tolerated. You will often not be given crutches and may walk with your full weight directly after surgery. You may be as active as you are comfortable.
  3. It is normal to have some swelling and discomfort in the knee for several days or even weeks after arthroscopic surgery. The ice pack will help minimize swelling and pain in the post-operative period, and should be worn consistently for the first 48-72 hours. When not walking you should elevate your leg on 2 pillows under your calf or ankle, not under your knee. This allows gravity to let your knee fall straight.
  4. You might have some swelling in your foot and ankle. This is very common. If this occurs, once again elevate your foot above the level of your waist.
  5. You might have some bleeding or oozing from your knee incisions. Your bandages are designed to act as sponges or a wick to absorb the fluid from surgery. The fluid may appear blood-tinged or reddish. If excessive bleeding or oozing occurs, you should contact our office.
  6. Do not remove the bandages unless specifically instructed to do so by a doctor or nurse.

9.   Although your dressing appears water-proof. It is not. Keep your dressings clean and dry. Take sponge baths until the dressings are removed which we will do in the office at your first visit. You may take a shower by placing a large plastic bag over your leg, taping it securely to keep the dressing dry.

  1. You will be sent home from the hospital with a prescription for pain medications. Take the medication, if needed, as directed by the pharmacist. The directions on the bottle is the maximum dose you are to take. If you do not need prescription pain medications, you can take 200mg to 400mg of Advil (Ibuprofen) every 4-6 hours, or you can take Advil (Ibuprofen) along with the prescription pain medications to minimize the amount of pain medications required. Occasionally some patients alternate their prescription pain medications with Advil every 2 hours for sustained relief. The prescription pain medications will only be refilled every 14 days. Do not drive if you have been taking pain medications.
  2. If your surgery is on Monday, you should have an appointment to be seen on the following Thursday in the office. If your surgery is Wednesday or Friday, you should have an appointment the following Tuesday to be seen in the office. You will need to call the office to schedule the appointment.

 You should call the office if:

  1. You develop a temperature over 100.0 degrees.
  2. After your dressings are removed by the doctor’s nurse, you have any continued drainage from your wounds.
  3. You develop a significant amount of calf pain, tenderness, or swelling.

Surgery is often an inconvenience. We hope to make your experience as pleasant as possible and start you on the way to recovery.