Now that your surgery is over, it’s time to start healing ! I am frequently asked questions about what to expect after surgery. The more you know, the better you will do after surgery.
Day before surgery:
The key point is nothing to eat after midnight, unless specifically directed. Not following this rule will quickly get your surgery cancelled – WHY ?? – any food or drink in your stomach can become a serious life threatening problem with anesthesia. We don’t give instructions like this without a good reason! The morning of surgery: No coffee, no food, NOTHING. OFten medications can be taken with a sip of water only. Check with the surgery center or Dr. Hacker’s nurse for more information.
Day of surgery:
Be sure to arrive on time. Keep your phone handy – the operating schedule frequently changes and we want to be able to contact you if you need to be there earlier or later. We do everything possible to stay on time and keep the day as worry-free as possible. Wear comfortable clothing. You do not need to bring your crutches with you if you have a pair. Our nurses will help you to the car safely when it is time to leave. We will send you home as comfortable as possible.
Everything in life involves a level of risk. While these risks with surgery are extremely low, you need to be well informed about the things we are concerned about. Anesthesia: In most cases, the risk of an anesthetic complication is incredibly rare-much safer than driving your car. Infection: A dose of antibiotics is given just before we start, and everything we use is completely sterilized so this risk is also very low. Bleeding: Minimal to no bleeding is usually expected. Nerve injury: Even the smallest incisions can create patches of numbness on your skin around them. These patches are bigger with longer incisions. Risks to major nerves are rare with arthroscopy. Stiffness: Any joint procedure or injury / surgery around a joint can lead to joint stiffness. This is why a controlled rehab program is so important to avoid joint stiffness.
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All these concerns are very important. We want you to understand them and always provide an appropriate amount of information, or informed consent. While experience and knowledge is there should anything happen, we expect an excellent outcome for you. Dr. Hacker will personally go over these risks with you and answer all your questions.
The day after surgery:
It is very common to come home feeling great, and then feel more sore the day following the procedure as the anesthetic medications wear off completely. Take it easy the first day. Relax on the couch or in bed with your knee up and elevated. Leave the dressings on until the 2nd day after the surgery.
Life is motion! Movement is good for you no matter what was done for you. For a knee, begin working on gently bending and straightening your knee throughout the day – you can’t do this too much. Use a towel wrapped around your foot to help pull it up to bend if needed. Try to push your knee down into the bed and straighten it all the way.
Unless otherwise directed, begin using 600mg of ibuprofen (advil, motrin, or generic) after your surgery three times a day, taken with food. Stop this if it bothers your stomach. This will help reduce swelling, inflammation and pain. IF needed, also take the narcotic pain medication given to you by Dr. Hacker. You will not get addicted to a medication if taken for the right reasons. This can be taken along with the ibuprofen.