Most patients stay in hospital for one night after their operation. Occasionally minor procedures can be done on a “day-case” basis, but generally the extra 12 hours in bed is beneficial. If your consultant feels it necessary he may ask you to stay for two nights.
After an arthroscopic procedure it is common to have some swelling and discomfort, but this is usually minimal.
Once you have recovered from the anesthetic the physiotherapist will visit you on the ward. You will be shown exercises which you will be expected to practice regularly at home. If necessary you will be issued with sticks or crutches and taught how to use them correctly and safely.
An appointment will be made for you to visit the physiotherapy department as an out-patient, this is usually 5-7 days after discharge. (Don’t forget your shorts when you come!). If you live too far away to be able to come to the clinic, then we will discuss your transfer to a local chartered physiotherapist and we will forward all the necessary details.
You will have between three or four small incisions or “portals” through which the operative instruments are passed. These incisions are very small and often do not require stitching. They will be been covered with sterile dressings which should remain in place for approximately 10 days. If you can keep these dressings dry, the wounds will heal quickly, - try to shower rather than bathe, and try covering the knee with clingfilm to keep most of the water off. If the dressings get damp, just leave them open to the air to dry out.
You will also have white “T.E.D.” stockings. These are to control swelling around the knee and should be worn until swelling has settled and you are walking normally without any aid.
If you need to use crutches for some time, (ie. weeks) then it is a good idea to continue to wear the stockings for this period. They help to reduce the risk of thrombosis while you are not weight-bearing fully on your leg.
Depending on the surgical procedure, you may or may not be given anti-inflammatory tablets. If you are given them, a course typically lasts for two weeks. Tablets should not be taken on an empty stomach as they can sometimes irritate the stomach lining. If you notice some acidity, this usually settles with an antacid such as “zantac”. Should you develop nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, stop taking the tablets and contact either your G.P. or the knee clinic.
On discharge from hospital, you will be given any medication required, an appointment for physiotherapy and an appointment to see the consultant.
You should arrange to be collected from hospital - you are not advised to drive yourself until you have full control of your lower leg, this may take a few days. Do check with your insurance company regarding their rules for driving after an anesthetic.
If you have any questions regarding your proposed operation or the rehabilitation which will follow, please do telephone and speak to the clinic nurse, a physiotherapist or doctor, who will be happy to help you.