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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A meniscectomy is surgery to repair your meniscus, or remove any torn pieces. The meniscus is cartilage in your knee that acts like a shock absorber, and helps your knee move correctly.
- Medicines may be given to decrease pain or to prevent a bacterial infection. Ask your healthcare provider how to take prescription pain medicine safely.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your orthopedist or surgeon as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Keep your dressing dry and clean. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get 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.
- Apply ice on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
- Elevate your knee above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your knee on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
- Wear pressure stockings as directed. This will help decrease swelling in your legs until you are able to walk more. Ask which type of support socks is best for you.
- Wear your brace. You may need to wear a brace or elastic wrap bandage on your knee. This will help prevent movement so your knee can heal. You may need to use crutches to help you move around.
- 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.
- Do leg exercises as directed. You will be told how soon you should start leg exercises after surgery. You may be taught these exercises before or after surgery. After you do 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 orthopedist or healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
- Ask when you can exercise. Avoid heavy exercise such as jogging or bicycling right after surgery. Once your knee is stronger, you will be able to start exercise. It is best to start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
Contact your orthopedist or surgeon if:
- The area around your stitches is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
- Your stitches come apart.
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- You have more pain in your knee or trouble moving around.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
- You have a fever.
- You fall or injure your knee.
- You lose feeling in your leg.
- Your leg or toes tingle, feel cool to the touch, or look blue or pale.
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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.