You will return from surgery with a large dressing on the knee area. A small drainage tube will be placed during surgery to help drain excess fluids from the joint area. Your leg will be placed in a continuous passive motion (CPM) device. This mechanical device that flexes (bends) and extends (straightens) the knee at a pre-set rate and amount of bending.
Gradually, the rate and amount of bending will be increased as you can tolerate it. The leg should always be in this device when you are in bed. The CPM device helps speed recovery, and decreases pain, bleeding, and infection after the operation.
You will have some pain after surgery. However, you may receive intravenous (IV) medicine to control your pain for the first 3 days after surgery. The pain should gradually get better. By the third day after surgery, medicine you take by mouth may be enough to control your pain.
You will also return from surgery with several IV lines in place to give you hydration and nutrition. The IV will be removed when you can drink enough fluids on your own.
You will receive antibiotics to reduce the risk of developing an infection.
You will also return from surgery wearing special stockings. These devices help lower your risk of getting blood clots, which are more common after lower leg surgery.
You will be asked to start moving and walking early after surgery. You will be helped out of bed to a chair on the first day. When in bed, bend and straighten your ankles often. This can prevent blood clots from forming.
Update Date 10/18/2015
Updated by: Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.