Post Op / Discharge Instructions
Instructions for Patients Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
You will be given a prescription for pain medication at the time of the preoperative visit or prior to leaving the hospital. Unless otherwise instructed, do not take anything with aspirin in it for approximately one week after surgery.
The dressings should not be removed until you have been cleared by me for showering. Steristrips over the incision should not be removed. The Ace (elastic) wrap may be removed the first day following surgery and the rolled-on cotton padding may be removed. The ace wrap should be re-applied at least once daily and any time it becomes excessively loosened or displaced.
A cooling pad or ice packs should be used often over the first 24-48 hours after surgery, and then as needed to help relieve swelling and discomfort.
Your knee brace (or immobilizer) should be worn at all times when you are up. Unless otherwise instructed, you may bear weight as comfortable on the operated extremity. It is advisable to start with approximately 50% weight on crutches and 50% on the foot, increasing your weight bearing as comfortable.
If you are wearing a brace, feel free to move the knee in the range of motion provided by the brace. If you are wearing a knee immobilizer, when awake and non-weight bearing you may remove the immobilizer in an attempt to gently bend the knee.
Also, with the brace or immobilizer, you may work on gently straightening the knee by pressing the back of the knee down against the bed. Bending and straightening exercises should be carried out at least four times daily for 5-10 minutes of each waking hour.
The thigh musculature will shrink in size and strength quite rapidly
unless you exercise it.
- Start with muscle tightening (isometric) exercises for the thigh. Clench the thigh muscles tightly and attempt to hold for 5 seconds; then relax.
- Next, progress to leg lifts. Lying on your back, attempt to carry out 10-20 leg lift repetitions. Then, turning to the un-operated side, lift the operated leg upward, again attempting 10-20 repetitions.
- Exercise the calf muscles by making a circle with the toes.
The initial discomfort sometimes noted when arising from bed may be diminished if you carry out a set of leg exercises immediately prior to getting up on your crutches.
Physical therapy usually begins sometime after the first postoperative visit, but this may vary. Specific instructions will be given at that time.
If you have not already been scheduled for your first postoperative appointment, please call my office.
PROBLEMS - Please contact my office if any of the following should
- Increasing knee pain not relieved by rest, ice and elevation.
- Temperature of 102° or above.
- Persisting temperature (24 hours) of 101°.
Should you develop calf tenderness, please contact me immediately. Blood clots (deep venous thrombosis) are extremely rare following this type of surgery, due to early mobility.
If you have any other question or problems, please feel free to call.