What Is Meniscus Surgery Recovery Like
The recovery time for meniscus surgery depends on the type of surgery you had. It takes longer for a meniscus repair to heal than a meniscectomy. Full recovery from meniscus surgery can take anywhere from six weeks to three months. Your care after surgery may involve:
- Crutches to take stress off the knee as it heals.
- Knee brace to stabilize the joint as you recover.
- Pain medications.
- Rehabilitation exercises at home to restore mobility, range of motion and strength.
- RICE .
Meniscus Surgery Recovery Timeline
To repair a torn meniscus you must go through extensive rehabilitation. But how long will it take generally to return to normalcy? This will vary from person to person, but the general timeline for recovery is outlined for you below.
As far as bearing weight on the injured joint you can do this right away. For more extensive surgery and injuries to the meniscus, this may only be done with the aid of a brace. If you require a brace then you must use it until you can bear weight on your leg without pain.
Walking without crutches may take anywhere between 2 days and 6 weeks.
Driving may only be performed if you do not experience extensive pain and are not taking opioids. Generally speaking, this is between one and six weeks.
You will regain your full range of motion between 1 and 2 weeks for uncomplicated meniscus surgery. However, after more extensive surgery motion should be restricted to no more than 90-degree angles for the first 4 weeks and a full range of motion will return in 6 weeks time.
Heavy work and sports is the last step in the recovery process. For extensive surgery, this may need to wait up to 6 months but it can be as little as 6 weeks with the doctors approval.
Manage Pain And Swelling As Prescribed
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.
Read Also: Knees Crack When I Squat
Will I Be Able To Drive A Car After A Knee Arthroscopy
The patients who undergo surgeries like partial meniscectomy may be able to drive the car once they are able to walk unaided as well as use their knee without discomfort. If the patient is wearing a brace on the right leg then they will not be able to drive the car till the brace is discarded and they have regained good range of motion and power in their right lower extremity. The patient with brace on the left knee may still be able to drive cars which are not stick-shift. Patients should be off pain medications before driving the car.
Sleeping On Your Back
This is, of course, the optimal position. Prop up your surgical leg with two or three pillows, but do not put the pillows behind the knee. If you have access to a foam wedge then you may want to use this instead.
It is important to keep your leg above your heart to minimize pain and swelling during the night. Some doctors do not recommend a foam wedge so it is best to consult your physician before doing so.
Recommended Reading: Medicare Coverage Knee Replacement
Arthritis In The Joint
Probably the most common reason why patients have persistent pain after arthroscopic knee surgery is that their knee has damage to the cartilage of the joint that can’t be adequately repaired by an arthroscopic procedure.
It is well established that typical arthritis pain does not warrant an arthroscopic surgery numerous studies have shown that the benefit of arthroscopy in these patients is no better than with nonsurgical treatments.
However, there are times when patients with osteoarthritis may have problems that can improve with arthroscopic surgery, or your surgeon may not be aware of the extent of arthritis until the time of surgery.
In these cases, patients may have an arthroscopic surgery but may have to manage ongoing pain from arthritis that does not improve despite the surgical procedure. The good news is that there are many treatments for knee arthritis, and often these can help patients find relief from their symptoms.
Wear Stable Supportive Well
Along with increasing pressure on the knees, when you wear high heels, it can shorten and tighten your calf muscles. This is a condition that could cause overpronation, which is when your foot is pulled inward too far. When feet excessively pronate, the arch of your foot may collapse and cause your lower leg to roll inward, which then stresses your knee and ankle. Shoes ideal for knee protection are:
- Shoes with an inch or shorter heels
- Flat shoes
- Shoes with cushioned soles
- Shoes that fit well, keeping your feet from sliding front to back and left to right
Shoes with a non-slip, rubber sole can help keep you from sliding on slippery surfaces that can also cause knee injury. If you run, walk or exercise regularly, be sure you change your workout shoes every three months or more frequently to ensure you have enough cushion for protecting your knees and your ankles, feet, back and hips.
Don’t Miss: How To Pop Your Knee
How Successful Is Knee Arthroscopic Surgery For Osteoarthritis
Knee arthroscopic surgery just for osteoarthritis usually has the short-term relief in pain and swelling but if the patient has complications secondary to arthritis that may be causing the worsening of pain, then these patients have good results in pain relief as well as improvement in function. Examination along with radiological tests like x-ray and MRI are helpful to select such patients.
Heres A List Of Things You Have To Do After An Arthroscopic Knee Surgery:
- After the operation, you can return home the same day, but it might take 4 to 5 days to get back to work. If your job demands you to stand a lot or to lift heavy materials then it might take 2 months for you to get back to the office.
- Slowly walk around the house for short intervals on the first day itself. It is advisable to use an orthopaedic walker or a crutch while walking so that you dont end up straining your knee with your entire bodys weight on it. Walking will not only boost your legs mobility but also the blood circulation in and around the knee.
- Avoid standing for long periods for at least 2 weeks. This can strain your knee and hinder the healing process.
- You will have to take the painkillers and other medication as prescribed by your doctor.
- Make sure not to get your bandage wet even while having a bath for at least 2 weeks. This can infect the wound and you might have to undergo a surgery again.
- For the first 3-4 days, its crucial that you keep placing an ice pack on your knee to help control the swelling and pain. This should be done for 4 to 6 times daily but make sure you dont wet the wounds dressing.
- While resting and lying down, place 1 or 2 pillows below your foot so that your foot and knee are placed higher than your hearts level. This will help in controlling the swelling.
- Make sure to get ample rest and sleep at least for the first few days. Your body repairs wound better during sleep.
Patient Information Consent Form
Read Also: How Long After Knee Replacement Can You Fly
Arthroscopic Acl Ligament Reconstruction
On average full recovery from ACL reconstruction is 6-9 months for healthy, active patients. Surgical healing takes 6-8 weeks. A rehabilitation program to restore range of motion, strengthen muscles and regain balance will be part of your recovery. Patents can expect swelling and stiffness.
Patients go home immediately after surgery with crutches and a brace, plus a prescription for pain medication. Medication may be needed for 2-3 weeks. Rehabilitation begins within a week of surgery.
Crutches will be used until the patient can walk without a limp on the repaired knee, which takes about 2 weeks after surgery. The knee will be swollen for 2-3 months. Patients will be instructed on the use of ice to reduce swelling.
If the meniscus is also torn, and repaired at the same time, crutches will be needed for longer period. Total recovery time for an ACL reconstruction with meniscus repair is 12-16 weeks, and it varies with each individual.
Patients may drive after pain medication, but when the right knee is affected, the patient must wait for 4-6 weeks before resuming driving.
If the patient has a desk job, they may be able to return 7days after surgery. However, if their job requires lots of standing, the patient should wait to return until 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Resumption of sports will depend on the type of repair and your surgeon will determine when you can resume sports.
What Exercises Should I Do After Surgery
You are encouraged to bend and straighten your knee as much as pain allows immediately after standard knee arthroscopy. Remember, however, that your knee may be swollen and full motion may be difficult for the first few days. You may tighten your quadriceps muscle right after surgery and we encourage straight leg raises if they are not too painful. Massaging the patella with your leg straight is also beneficial. Using your fingers, push the patella in all four directions and hold it for 10 seconds in each direction. This helps prevent scar formation and tightness around the patella during the recovery period.
You can put as much weight on your leg as is comfortable immediately after surgery. Again, the usual need for crutches or a walker is about two or three days. Riding on an exercise bike, using a treadmill or elliptical machine, or just plain walking are all good exercises to begin once the knee is less painful. Do not be surprised if your knee has a tendency to swell after such activities remember to ice and elevate the knee afterwards.
Don’t Miss: How To Whiten Knees And Elbows
What Is A Knee Meniscectomy
The surgical removal of a torn meniscus is called a meniscectomy, which is a type of arthroscopic knee surgery. The meniscus is a cushion for your knee and helps keep your knee steady by balancing your weight.
Meniscus tears are most common in the knee joints and are usually caused by twisting or turning the knee quickly.
Does Every Meniscus Injury Need Surgery
Some people need surgery for a torn meniscus, but some dont. The decision depends on:
- Type, size and location of the tear.
- Your age.
- Your activity level and lifestyle.
- Related injuries .
- Presence of symptoms
Your healthcare professional may suggest you first try nonsurgical treatments, such as :
- RICE .
- Knee injections, such as cortisone.
Read Also: Do Copper Knee Braces Really Work
How Is A Knee Arthroscopy Performed
An arthroscopy is performed under a general or spinal anaesthetic. 2 small incisions are made at the front of the knee to create portals. A small telescope is inserted into the knee to provide a view of the inside of the joint. Various instruments are passed through the other portal to perform the surgery. An arthroscopy takes about 20 minutes to perform. Bigger operations, such as ligament reconstructions take about 90 minutes.
What To Expect After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
The knee joint is highly complex and contains many parts. This makes it susceptible to both acute injuries and conditions such as arthritis that develop over time. In order to treat knee issues, orthopedic doctors often use non-surgical methods successfully. If this course of treatment is not effective, however, arthroscopic surgery is typically prescribed to resolve the knee issue. If you are considering surgery after experiencing knee pain that hasnt responded well to non-surgical treatment, its important to know what to expect after arthroscopic knee surgery.
Also Check: Showering After Knee Replacement Surgery
Should You Use A Pillow Under Your Knee After Knee Replacement
There is no position that is safe to put a pillow under your knee after arthroscopy or any other knee surgery. This is a definite no-no.
It may seem like a good idea to support your leg, and it is true that when you are in a sitting or lying position you should keep your leg elevated. It should be over your heart so that the blood circulates back towards your heart and promotes healing.
Having the pillow directly under your knee should never be done post-surgery. It will force your knee to stay slightly flexed and this will have a vastly negative effect on your recovery.
Putting the pillows stacked under your ankle is a better option as this will keep your knee straight while also keeping it elevated. This is especially true while sleeping on your back too.
Are There Discharge Instructions For Knee Arthroscopic Surgery
All the patients who are discharged after a surgery are provided with discharge instructions to take care of themselves while at home. These instructions have information regarding medications, bracing, crutches, activities etc. They are also informed to take an appointment with he physician usually in one week after the surgery.
Recommended Reading: Knee Needs To Pop
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.
When Can I Return To Work
This depends on your profession. Typically, if your work is primarily sedentary you may be able to return within one week. If your work is extremely rigorous, you may require eight to 10 weeks before you return to full duty. Your physician will help you determine an appropriate return-to-work date, and will also provide any needed paperwork.
Don’t Miss: How Long After Knee Replacement Can You Fly
How To Heal After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
This article was medically reviewed by Jonas DeMuro, MD. Dr. DeMuro is a board certified Pediatric Critical Care Surgeon in New York. He received his MD from Stony Brook University School of Medicine in 1996. He completed his fellowship in Surgical Critical Care at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and was a previous American College of Surgeons Fellow.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 44,100 times.
Studies show that arthroscopic knee surgery is performed on almost 1 million people annually in the United States.XTrustworthy SourceArthritis FoundationMain organization devoted to arthritis support and educationGo to source During the relatively quick procedure, the inside of the knee joint is cleaned up and mended with the aid of a pencil-sized camera, which allows for a more accurate diagnosis. Due to the small incision and reduced damage to surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments, healing time after arthroscopic surgery is generally less than conventional open-knee surgery. However, experts note that following a rigorous post-op routine can help you heal fully from your knee surgery.XResearch source
How Soon After Knee Arthroscopy Can I Exercise What To Do After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure for diagnosing and treating issues with the knee joint. Your surgeon will make a very small incision in your knee and insert a tiny camera called an arthroscope during the operation. They will use a computer to display the inside of the joint. The surgeon will then use small instruments inside the arthroscope to examine a problem with the knee and, if possible, correct the problem.
Arthroscopy can detect a torn meniscus or a misaligned patella, among other issues . It may also help to heal the joint’s ligaments.
The operation carries few complications, and most patients have a positive outcome. The seriousness of your knee problem and the complexity of the required procedure will determine your recovery time and prognosis.
Whatsoever happens, you should also keep good care of your operated area so no after-surgery complications occur. Many of you ask that How soon after knee arthroscopy can I exercise.
So, this blog will provide you with such FAQs and their responses to you. This will help you in understanding what you should be doing after your surgery.
You May Like: How To Pop Your Knee
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.