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Home / Patients / FAQ Knee Surgery

FAQ Knee Surgery

Post-Operative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) For Knee Surgery

Your leg may be placed in a Bledsoe brace post-operatively. If so, you will need to wear this brace AT ALL TIMES. It should be locked in full extension (0 degrees) until your first postoperative visit with Dr. Li.

You will be instructed in the recovery room about how much weight you can place on your operated leg.

While in the recovery room, the nurses will instruct you in putting on and taking off your brace, ambulating, climbing stairs, and other activities of daily life. Listen to them carefully.

Cryotherapy (Cold therapy) is a very important part of pain control after surgery. The cold temperature will help control swelling and reduce pain. This can be done several ways – with an ice pack or a cold therapy unit.

Cold therapy units are more effective in concentrating the cold to the surgical site via a molded wrap. Cold water is then circulated through the wrap, delivering cold to all sides of the joint. Cold therapy units come 2 ways – Cold therapy only and Cold therapy with compression:

Cryocuff ® (cold only) – cold therapy via a molded wrap

You may elect to use an ice pack or a Cryocuff ®.


You may remove the OP dressing to Post Op day #3

Apply Band-Aids to the wounds. Do not remove the Steri-strips. Please do not use Bacitracin or any other ointments on the incision. An ACE wrap may be used to help control swelling. Do not wrap the ACE too tight. You may be given a stocking to place over your wound and under the brace – this is to help alleviate sweating under the brace.

There may be a small amount of bleeding and/or fluid leaking at the surgical site. This is normal. The knee is filled with fluid during surgery, sometimes causing leakage for 24-36 hours. You may change or reinforce the bandage as needed.

Use Ice or Cryocuff as often as possible for the first 7 days, then as needed for pain relief. Do not wrap the Ace too thickly or the Cryocuff cold may not penetrate.

There will actually be more swelling on days 1-3 than you had the day of surgery. This is normal. The swelling is decreased by using the Ice or Cryocuff. For knees, the swelling will make it more difficult to bend your knee, but once the swelling goes down, it will become easier to bend your knee.

You may shower on POD #3 using a water-tight plastic bag over your knee. Using Glad Cling Wrap with a plastic bag on top wrapped with tape on either side of your knee is most recommended.

DO NOT GET THE WOUND WET, KEEP THE WOUND CLEAN AND DRY. You may gently wash around the incision with a washcloth, then gently pat the area dry. Do not soak the knee in water. Do not go swimming in a pool, hot tub or ocean until your sutures are removed.

**IMPORTANT** – ABSOLUTELY NO DRIVING WHILE TAKING ANY NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION (VICODIN / PERCOCET / OXYCODONE, etc.) – it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any controlled substances (even when legally prescribed). Narcotics impair both motor ability and judgment.

As a result of your surgery, your reaction time will be greatly slowed down, impairing your physical ability to safely drive a vehicle. Thus in the case an emergency arises – i.e. you need to slam on breaks, depress the clutch, or turn the wheel, you may not be able to do so quickly – thus potentially risking harm to yourself or others.

If your RIGHT KNEE is the operative side, you MAY NOT DRIVE FOR 6 WEEKS. It is important to regain adequate muscle strength and control before attempting to shift gears or use the steering wheel.

If your LEFT KNEE is the operative side you may drive a few days AFTER you finish taking your pain medication. It is important that you feel very confident in your ability to respond efficiently before attempting to drive. NO opening of the driver’s side door with the operative arm. You may stabilize the steering wheel between 6-7 o’clock.

Please call the office to schedule a follow-up appointment for your postoperative visit with Dr. Li for 10-14 days after the surgery.

Please bring your arthroscopic pictures (given to you in the PACU) with you to your first postoperative visit. Dr. Li will review these pictures from your surgery with you during this visit and will also outline your post-operative physical therapy protocol.

Identify a Caregiver/family member to help with preparing meals, hygiene, dressing, and activities of daily living (cleaning, shopping, writing bills, etc).

Identify a Caregiver/family member to assist in driving you to and from appointments.

Make your post-op appointment with Dr. Li (for 10-14 days after surgery)

Make your post-op Physical Therapy appointment (for after the 1st post-op visit)

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