Medication Guide App

Menisectomy

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Menisectomy (Discharge Care) Care Guide

The menisci (me-NIS-keye) are two pieces of cartilage that lie between the tibia and femur bones in the leg. Each meniscus acts like a shock absorber, and helps the knee to move correctly. The menisci also help keep the knee joint from breaking down. A meniscus can stretch or tear, especially when the knee is twisted at the same time it is being extended (straightened). During a meniscal repair or meniscectomy (men-ih-SEK-toh-mee), the menisci can be repaired, or torn pieces can be removed. Your recovery time will depend on the type of surgery you have.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.

  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

How should I take care of myself at home?

  • Put an ice pack on your knee.

    • Ice causes blood vessels to constrict (get small) which helps decrease inflammation (swelling, pain, and redness). Put crushed ice in a plastic bag or use a bag of frozen peas or corn. Cover it with a towel. Put this on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour. Do this as long as you need it for the first 24 to 48 hours. Ask your caregiver if you should use ice for a longer time. Do not sleep on the ice pack because you can get frostbite.

    • Caregivers may ask you to use a cold pressure cuff (bandage) on your knee after surgery. The cuff holds your knee tightly and keeps it cold. This is a way to decrease pain and swelling. Ask your caregiver for instructions on how to use the cuff.

  • Keep your dressing dry and clean. When you are allowed to bathe, carefully wash the stitches with soap and water. Afterwards put on a clean, new bandage. Change your bandage any time it gets wet or dirty. If you cannot change the bandage by yourself, ask someone else to help you change it. Wrap a plastic bag around your bandage when you shower. Carefully tape the bag above and below the bandage so water cannot leak onto it. Keep your leg away from the spray of water if possible.

  • Keep your knee raised above the level of your heart. Stay off your feet as much as possible for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Keep your leg raised on two pillows whenever possible to decrease pain and swelling, and help your knee heal. Move your legs often while resting in bed to avoid blood clots.

  • Wear pressure stockings. This will help decrease swelling in your legs until you are walking more. Ask your caregiver which type of support socks are best to wear.

  • Wear the brace your caregiver gave to you. You may need to wear a brace or elastic wrap bandage. This helps keep your knee from moving too much while it heals. Ask your caregiver how many days you should wear your brace after surgery. You may also need to use the brace when doing sports activities. Ask your caregiver how long you should wear the brace when doing sports activities.

    • You may remove the brace each day to bathe. Put your brace back on as soon as possible.

    • You can loosen or tighten the brace or elastic wrap bandage to make it comfortable. It should be tight enough for you to feel support. It should not be so tight that it causes your toes to tingle or lose feeling. If you are wearing an elastic wrap bandage, take it off and rewrap it once a day.

    • Move your toes and foot several times an hour to prevent joint stiffness and blood clots.

  • Use the crutches your caregiver gave to you. When the pain decreases, begin normal, slow movements. You may be given crutches or a cane to use until you can put weight on the knee (stand using that leg) without pain. Ask caregivers how long you should use the crutches. Ask for information on how to use crutches correctly.

  • Do leg exercises as ordered by your caregiver. Your caregiver will tell you how soon you should start leg exercises after surgery. The caregiver will tell you what kind of exercises you need to do. You may be taught these exercises before or after surgery. After doing your exercises, elevate your knee and put an ice pack on it. Do this especially if you are having problems with swelling.

  • Go to physical therapy. Your caregiver may want you to go to physical therapy. A physical therapist will help you with special exercises. These exercises help make your knee stronger and move better.

  • Ask your caregiver when you can start exercising. Avoid heavy exercise such as jogging or bicycling right after surgery. Once your knee is stronger, you will be able to start exercising. It is best to start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Exercising makes the heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, and keeps you healthy. Talk to your caregiver before you start. Together you can plan an exercise program.

Other special instructions:

  • Prevent constipation: High-fiber foods, extra liquids, and regular exercise can help you prevent constipation. Examples of high-fiber foods are fruit and bran. Prune juice and water are good liquids to drink. Regular exercise helps your digestive system work. You may also be told to take over-the-counter fiber and stool softener medicines. Take these items as directed.

  • Drinking liquids: Adults should drink about 9 to 13 cups of liquid each day. One cup is 8 ounces. Good choices of liquids for most people include water, juice, and milk. Coffee, soup, and fruit may be counted in your daily liquid amount. Ask your caregiver how much liquid you should drink each day.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • The area around your stitches is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.

  • Your stitches come apart.

  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.

  • You have more pain in your knee or trouble moving around.

  • You have questions or concerns about your knee problem, surgery, or medicine.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing all of a sudden.

  • You have a fever.

  • You fall or injure your knee.

  • Your leg or toes lose feeling, tingle, feel cool to touch, or look blue or pale.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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