How can I reduce swelling after the surgery?
There are multiple methods to help you reduce swelling after your surgery. They include the following:
- Elevating your affected limb at or above heart level.
- Ankle pumps (rotating your ankle, as well as, moving your foot up and down).
- Continuous use of TED hose stockings.
- Ice Machine.
How long do I have to wear the TED hose (surgical stockings)?
TED hose stockings are essential for preventing lower extremity swelling and decreasing your risk for a DVT (deep vein thrombosis- also known as a blood clot). These stockings are worn on both legs while on crutches for the first 2 weeks as there is still risk of getting a blood clot in the non-surgical leg. You may remove the TED hose stocking on the non-surgical leg at the two week mark; however, the affected limb is to have a stocking until you are full weight-bearing. Stockings may be removed daily to wash and dry; however, be advised that they should be placed back on the lower extremities as quickly as possible. Additional sets of TED hose may be purchased at the pharmacy.
How often do I use the Ice Machine?
Icing is an important part to reducing swelling and pain after your surgery. We recommend using the Game Ready ice machine. When icing, we recommend 30 min -1 hour breaks between icing sessions and wearing a protective layer between your skin and the ice machine. A Game Ready representative will meet with you in recovery postoperatively. The machine settings will be reviewed and set for you at set-up. If you have questions regarding rental fees, when to return the machine or any other questions, please feel free to contact the company representative at (970) 471-6267.
How often do I do dressing changes at home?
Dressing changes are a vital part of your post-surgical process. You will be supplied with the needed dressing change materials and provided with hands-on instruction.
- For the first 2 weeks, change the 4×4 gauze pads at least every other day or if they become wet/soiled. Keep them in place with the tubigrip provided.
- Do not touch, remove or apply ointment to the steri-strips (tape) that are over the arthroscopic portals or skin incisions. Steri-strips are to remain on the incision sites for 2 weeks. If they fall off before the 2 week time period is up, please reapply them with the extras that you have been given.
At each dressing change, evaluate the incision sites for any purulent drainage (pus), excessive redness, increased warmth or pain. These signs may indicate an infection. Contact a team member immediately if these symptoms occur.
When do I have my sutures (stitches) removed?
Our surgical team typically uses dissolvable sutures in scope portals and surgical incisions (unless otherwise specified). These require no special care because the sutures are underneath your skin and will dissolve on their own. If you do have an incision, extra suture material may be on the outside of the skin. These sutures will need to be cut at 2 weeks post-operatively which can be done in our office during your follow up visit or at home by a family member/friend. A suture removal kit will be provided upon request. For clear sutures, clip any extra suture at both ends of the incision. The remaining suture under the skin will dissolve.
When can I bathe/shower or get my incision wet?
In order to reduce the risk of infection, it is crucial that you maintain a dry environment for your incisions for the first 2 weeks. A shower bag has been provided to you in your dressing change kit. If the shower bag’s elastic band does not fit well, you may use another rubber band or tape to secure it. Please use the shower bag for 2 weeks until you have your incisions evaluated by a medical provider. After two weeks, patients may get the incision site briefly wet in the shower but are still advised to avoid soaking in a pool, hot tub or bath for up to a month after the surgical procedure.
How much weight can I bear on my leg after surgery?
Weight bearing status is dependent on both the type of surgery and anesthesia you will undergo. If you decide to have a nerve block during surgery, you will be automatically placed in a knee immobilizer with non-weight bearing status until the nerve block is removed. We will discuss your weight bearing limitations during your pre-operative visit and again after your surgery. The physical therapists will also help instruct you on the proper use of your crutches to ambulate.
Why do I have to take a blood thinner and for how long?
Any orthopaedic surgery is a risk factor for developing a blood clot, also known as a DVT (deep vein thrombosis). Our team is highly attentive to this risk and proactive at preventing blood clots. In order to decrease the chance of a blood clot, patients are placed on one of two blood thinners depending on their weight bearing status post-operatively. The type of medication you will be placed on will be discussed during your pre-operative visit. Please notify our providers if you are on any hormone medications (including birth control) or if you have any personal or family history of blood clots or blood clotting disorders as these also increase your risk for blood clots.
Any orthopedic surgery is a risk factor for developing a blood clot, also known as a DVT (deep vein thrombosis). Our team is highly attentive to this risk and proactive at preventing blood clots. In order to decrease the chance of a blood clot, patients are placed on one of two blood thinners depending on their weight bearing status post-operatively; either aspirin or Lovenox (enoxaparin). The type of medication you will be placed on will be discussed during your pre-operative visit. Our patients who will be able to put weight on their affected leg immediately following surgery are given a script for aspirin, which is to be taken for four weeks following surgery. Patients that will not be able to put weight on their affected leg and will be on crutches will be given a script for Lovenox, which is to be taken for two weeks after surgery, followed by four weeks of aspirin as well. Lovenox is an injectable blood thinner which has been shown to be very effective in reducing the risk of blood clots post-operatively. It is prescribed in pre-loaded syringes, which are administered by the patient once daily via a very small needle. The injection is performed in the soft tissue on either side of the patient’s belly button. This medication is typically very well tolerated, however side effects are occasionally noticed by patients including mild fever, nausea, diarrhea, and bruising at the injection site. Please notify our providers if you are on any hormone medications (including birth control) or if you have any personal or family history of blood clots or blood clotting disorders as these also increase your risk for blood clots and may determine which medication you are prescribed.
How to self-inject with LOVENOX
What are signs of a blood clot and what do I do if I suspect one?
Signs of a blood clot include the following:
- Severe calf/leg swelling or diffuse redness.
- Severe calf pain with moving foot up/down or when squeezing the calf.
If these symptoms arise, please contact our office immediately. We will need to order an ultrasound of your leg to rule out a blood clot. Our team is available Monday-Friday 9 am to 4 pm. If you are calling after business hours, please contact our main line at (970) 476-1100 to reach our on-call fellow physician. NEVER massage calf pain!
*If you develop chest pain or difficulty breathing, call 911 IMMEDIATELY.
What are signs of an infection and what do I do if I suspect one?
While infection is not common, there is always a risk with any type of surgery. Contact our office immediately if you develop the following signs:
- Fever of 101.5 degrees F or higher
- Purulent drainage (pus), excessive redness or swelling around the incision site(s).
When is my first postoperative visit with the team?
Dr. LaPrade along with his team rounds on all patients the day after surgery. The team will meet you at Howard Head Sports Medicine at 7:30 am to monitor your progress, change your dressing and provide instructions, discuss activities of daily living and obtain post-operative x-rays (4th floor, if needed). There will be an opportunity to have any further questions answered, although we will be available throughout your recovery process to address your concerns.
What is the expected timeline for postoperative office visits with Dr. LaPrade?
Dr. LaPrade would ideally like to see each of his patients for post-operative office visits with the following timeline below:
- 1-2 weeks (At 2 weeks suture removal is performed. If you are not able to make this visit, we recommend you follow up with your primary care provider for post-op wound care.)
- 6-8 weeks (Depending on procedure type.)
- 3.5 months
- 6 months
- 12 months
- Annually (for osteotomies, meniscal transplants, fresh allografts, and ligament reconstructions)
Dr. LaPrade’s Scheduler will contact you postoperatively to schedule a postoperative visit. To schedule, call Amie at 970-401-8702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can schedule a clinic visit with Dr. LaPrade from 9:00am -3:30 pm on Mondays or Wednesdays.