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How Long Does Swelling Last After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

When Should You Call For Help

Arthroscopic knee surgery How long will the pain last?

anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out .
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain that does not go away after you take pain medicine.
  • You have loose stitches, or your incisions come open.
  • Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage over your incision.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
  • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
  • Red streaks leading from the incision.
  • Pus draining from the incision.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin.
  • A fever.
  • You have signs of a blood clot, such as:
  • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
  • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.
  • Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

    • You feel a catching or locking in your knee.
    • You are sick to your stomach or cannot keep fluids down.
    • You have swelling, tingling, pain, or numbness in your toes that does not go away when you raise your knee above the level of your heart.
    • You do not have a bowel movement after taking a laxative.

    What Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

    Arthroscopic knee surgery or knee scope surgery is a minimally invasive knee surgery that aims to preserve tissue and in turn speed up healing time compared to an open procedure, if possible.

    Orthopedic Surgeons perform millions of knee scopes each year for this reason. The rate continues to rise as more complex arthroscopic procedures become available and reduce the need for large incisions.

    The operation can be exploratory in nature, but there are times when more invasive methods are necessary to perform the proper procedures and repairs , but that is a topic for another post.

    Is It Normal To Have Swelling After Knee Surgery

    Swelling can be normal after many injuries and some surgeries. When should a patient worry about it, though? In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I explain whether its normal to have knee swelling after arthroscopic surgery.

    Wallace asks:Is it normal to have swelling on the knee 3 weeks after arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear?

    When an orthopedic surgeon performs arthroscopic surgery of any joint the knee, shoulder, elbow and more we run a lot of fluid through the joint to distend it and improve our visibility. We try to remove that fluid at the end of the surgery, but swelling after knee surgery can be common.

    How long the swelling is present depends on what was done in the surgery. More invasive surgeries, like ACL reconstructions, have more swelling because the bones and the tunnels drilled bleed somewhat. Likewise, although not to the same extent, a surgery to sew a meniscus tear together a meniscus repair can have swelling for several weeks.

    In this video, I share some thoughts on what to look for and what you might ask your surgeon about your swelling after knee surgery.

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    Arthroscopic Surgery For A Torn Meniscus

    Arthroscopic surgery to remove all or part of the torn meniscus, is a common surgery. Arthroscopic surgery is outpatient same day surgery with local or regional anesthetic.

    An uncomplicated meniscectomy will resolve most of the pain fairly quickly, but swelling and stiffness take time to resolve. It may take 4-5 months for full healing. The patient should be able to bear weight on the knee while standing or walking, immediately after surgery. Crutches will be necessary for 2-7 days after surgery. Rehabilitation to gain full ROM should occur within 1-2 weeks. Heavy work or sports may be restricted for the first 4-6 weeks.

    Complicated arthroscopic repair of a meniscus tear requires that the patients knee be completely immobilized for 2 weeks after surgery. Followed by 2 weeks of limited motion before resuming daily activities. Physical therapy starts right after surgery. The patient should be able to bear weight on the knee while standing or walking, immediately after surgery with a brace.

    The patient is expected to walk with crutches for 4-6 weeks after surgery. Rehabilitation is intended to control pan and swelling, achieve maximum range of motion and full load walking. Patients with a low impact job can return to work 1-2 weeks after surgery, drive after 4-6 weeks, and return to heavy work or sports 3-6 months after surgery.

    What Is Arthroscopy And What Types Of Procedures Can Be Done Arthroscopically

    How Long Does Swelling Last After Knee Replacement Surgery ...

    With an arthroscopic procedure, your surgeon makes a small incision and inserts a miniature camera . Using that camera, the surgeon can perform certain procedures, such as trimming a torn meniscus. Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a number of knee conditions, including a torn ACL or PCL , torn meniscus, loose cartilage or a dislocated patella .

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    How Long Do I Need To Use A Bandage

    The initial bandage often gets soaked with fluid and blood. Drainage after surgery should gradually decrease after 48 hours, and then Band-Aids are usually sufficient over the small incisions. If desired, dry sterile gauze pads and an Ace wrap can be continued to protect the incisions from irritation from clothing, pets, young children, etc. Once the incisions are completely dry the use of a bandage is optional.

    What And Why Of Swelling

    Swelling is a physiological response within the body due to mechanical stress put on the body.

    Thus, whenever you twist your ankle or have some acute injury, your affected body part swells. Along with there is pain, increased redness, temperature as well as pain.

    So, when a Maryhad knee replacement surgery, their operated knee joint complex goes through a lot of mechanical stress, and thus, it swells.

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    Symptoms Of Torn Meniscus

    Torn knee cartilage generally produces pain in the region of the tear and swelling in the knee joint. These symptoms are made worse with pivoting motions, squatting, and vigorous activities. Torn meniscus fragments can get caught in the knee joint and cause catching sensations. If a large enough fragment becomes lodged between the bearing surfaces, the knee may lock and become unable to be fully bent or extended.

    For more detailed information on symptoms and diagnosis, please see our article on torn meniscus.

    Is It Worth Having A Knee Arthroscopy

    Knee Replacement – How Long Does Swelling Last?

    Though some surgeons may believe they can predict which patients will do well from surgery, this belief has not been validated. Despite the desire for this procedure to work, arthroscopy for degenerative knee conditions puts patients at risk of harm, including death, for no important benefits.

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    What Are The Benefits Of Knee Arthroscopy

    Knee arthroscopy is an effective tool in diagnosing your joint condition and for confirming treatment for knee problems such as meniscus tears and cartilage wear. An arthroscopy can ultimately provide relief from knee pain and improve mobility. Maintaining a normal and active lifestyle with greater comfort is a key benefit of this procedure.

    Icing After Knee Replacement

    Ever wondered why Ice machine is on best 20 knee replacement gifts list, because of this very problem of knee replacement swelling.

    Let me tell you ice will help you in many ways, including edema or fluid reduction and pain control.

    Whenever you apply ice to the body part, it has four sequential effects on that body part: Cold, Burning, Aching, and Numbness.

    The icing on the operated knee can result in blood vessel constriction, and thus it helps with swelling control after knee surgery. It also enables you to control pain after a knee replacement by numbing the nerves in the area.

    One of the common questions asked is how long to ice after knee replacement surgery? The usual answer is 15-20 min for 2 to 3 times a day. However, you should consult with your doctor if you have any medical complications like diabetes or skin sensation issues.

    Just a word of caution for proper incision care since icing can make area wet.

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    Preventing Or Avoiding Total Knee Replacement

    If injections and Physical Therapy have failed to provide pain and function improvements, a scope surgery may help put off or avoid an otherwise inevitable total knee replacement.

    Knee replacement surgery is a much more involved and drastic change of structures to the knee compared to a knee scope.

    This makes knee replacement recovery much longer and more difficult.

    Goal Of Arthroscopic Meniscus Repair

    How long will my knee be swollen after acl surgery ...

    The goal of meniscus surgery is to preserve healthy meniscus tissue. A meniscus tear requires a blood supply to heal. Only the outer third portion of the meniscus has blood supply to enable healing of a tear. Repairs are generally limited to this peripheral region of the meniscus.

    Many types of meniscus tears occur in the region of the meniscus without adequate blood supply for healing. Meniscus removal is generally recommended for tears to regions of the meniscus without blood supply. Please see arthroscopic meniscectomy for more information.

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    Where Will I Feel Knee Replacement Pain

    As mentioned above, knee replacement pain can come in many different forms depending on the cause. Knee pain is to be expected due to the surgical procedure itself, with swelling, bruising, and the introduction of prosthetic parts.

    Beyond that, it is possible to feel pain in parts of the body other than your knee. This is known as referred pain.

    Your hips, lower back, groin area, and calves may initially hurt due to the change in your stance and the way you walk. Of course, it is also typical to feel sore due to extended amounts of time in bed during your recovery.

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    Wear A Knee Brace For Added Support

    Depending on your specific condition and the sports you play, Dr. Absi may recommend wearing a knee brace for added support as you heal from arthroscopic surgery. Knee braces and wraps can also help keep swelling down as you participate in your rehabilitation program. When you do return to your favorite sport, a knee brace may provide the added security you need to feel confident in staying safe at your ideal performance level.

    Knee arthroscopy is much less invasive and debilitating than open surgery. Stick to your recovery plan, have patience, and youll be back in the game before you know it.

    When youre ready to treat your knee pain without losing your momentum, call our office at 404-334-2929 or schedule an appointment online today.

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    This Question Is Asked By Many Patients And May Be Applied To Many Joints Such As Ankles Hands And Elbows For The Weeks Following The Initial Injury Or Surgical Intervention

    This question is asked by many patients and may be applied to many joints such as ankles, hands, and elbows for the weeks following the initial injury or surgical intervention.

    Edema is the physiological response to a chemical imbalance within the cells and tissues of the body. This chemical imbalance may be caused by a mechanical stress put on the tissue or a pathological process going on within the body . Swelling is the term we use to describe the abnormal enlargement or protuberance we visualize as the result of edema or excessive fluid within a body cavity or joint region.

    The above question references swelling as a result of mechanical stress. In fact, this patient had a total knee replacement which involves significant mechanical stress to the entire knee complex. If you dont believe me check out this video on total knee replacement:

    When an injury occurs, various tissues are mechanically stressed and thus weakened. Lets take the total knee replacement noted above. The initial insult to the tissue starts when the skin and soft tissue is intruded with the incision and separation of tissue and muscle to expose the actual knee joint. The bone is mechanically stressed with a drill, saw, and hammer as noted in the video and the end result is major tissue disruption with subsequent swelling, which can become problematic if not controlled with ice, elevation, compression, and muscle activation.

    If it doesnt challenge you, it wont change you!

    Manage Pain And Swelling As Prescribed

    Knee Swelling and Pain After Knee Surgery

    Pain is a natural part of knee arthroscopy and the healing process. To minimize pain and swelling, take medications as prescribed. Sometimes, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory are effective.

    Medications provide relief so you can move your knee to aid in the recovery process. Icing and elevating your knee as recommended will help keep swelling down and minimize the risk of complications in the area of your incisions. A few days after surgery, Dr. Absi checks your progress, examines your knee, and begins your postoperative therapy program.

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    When To Call The Doctor

    If you develop a fever or if the surgical sites become red, hot, or swollen, contact your doctor immediately as these are signs that you may have an infection.

    Also contact your doctor immediately if you experience increased throbbing or cramping pain, tenderness, warmth, or redness in your calf. These are characteristic signs of a deep venous thrombosis which requires immediate medical attention.

    What Is The Recovery Time

    Everyone heals from their knee surgery at a different pace. If necessary, patients use crutches or a walker for one to three days after surgery. If your pain is minimal then you do not have to use crutches or a walker. Once more comfortable, most people are able to walk with just a slight limp within five days after surgery. Some people find a cane to be helpful. If you use a cane, place it in the hand opposite the knee that was operated on.

    It takes up to six weeks for the knee joint to re-establish normal joint fluid after arthroscopic surgery. Because of this, you may not realize the benefits of your surgery for four to six weeks. There is a high degree of variability in recovery times. Some patients are able to return to regular activities within two weeks, but most require roughly six weeks before they can resume full activities – including sports – comfortably. Reduction of pain and swelling and improvement in strength, motion, and coordination may continue for three to four months.

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    How Long Does It Take To Walk Or Work After Meniscus Repair Surgery


    Meniscus tears of the knee are one of the most common problems seen by orthopedic surgeons. The meniscus is a c-shaped pad of cartilage that acts as the shock absorber of the knee and lower stress on the bones and cartilage. It can be pretty painful when damaged.

    All patients and meniscus tears are different, and there are many variables when deciding how to treat these tears. The treatment of meniscus tears usually falls into one of two categories:

    • A true repair that involves sowing the tissue back together with stitches
    • Damage that is not repairable, treated with partial meniscectomy, or trimming out the torn portion of the meniscus

    The treatment approach for a particular meniscus tear depends on many factors. For one, there are many different types of meniscus tears large or small, simple or complex, acute or chronic, associated with arthritis or not, and more. In addition, we have to take into account the location of the tear with regard to its blood supply. If there is no blood supply it may have a hard time healing or scarring back together. As you can see, there are many variables to consider and it would be impossible to apply a one size fits all type of approach to the treatment of meniscus tears. This is where physician expertise and experience becomes important.

    The Risks Associated With Knee Arthroscopy

    How Long Does Swelling Last After Knee Surgery

    As with any surgical procedure, there are risks inherent in an arthroscopic knee surgery. Though rare, you can experience excessive bleeding. Theres also the possibility of infection. Because the procedure involves the use of anesthesia, you may have an allergic reaction or breathing challenges from the anesthetic.

    You can expect some stiffness in the knee after the surgery, even though the procedure is minimally invasive. Theres also always a risk that nerves, cartilage, blood vessels and ligaments may be damaged.

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    How Long Does The Surgical Procedure Take And What Exactly Is Done

    The actual surgery time is usually about 30 minutes. If extensive work is needed, the procedure may last up to 45 minutes. Most people “go to sleep completely” during surgery with a general anesthetic. Some have surgery with a spinal anesthetic.

    Three or four small incisions are made to allow special instruments, including a fiber-optic camera, to be placed into your knee. Sterile saline is brought into the knee joint continuously with tubing to provide a clear view for the surgeon. Torn parts of the meniscus and/or damaged cartilage on the bone surfaces are carefully removed with special arthroscopic instruments. The end result is a knee lined with smooth and stable tissues rather than rough edges.

    How To Reduce Swelling After Knee Surgery

    This article was medically reviewed by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 32,352 times.

    Swelling may be moderate to severe in the first few days after knee replacement surgery, but it will gradually subside as you recover. Still, you might experience some mild to moderate swelling in the weeks and months following your recovery. Luckily, there are several strategies you can try to reduce swelling, such as following your doctors instructions after surgery and trying out exercises meant to reduce swelling. If you experience an increase in swelling, tell your doctor right away.

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