Now that the procedure is complete, you are on the road to recovery! While specific instructions will be given to you by your nurse, please note the early recovery tips outlined below to optimize the healing process. Detailed postoperative instructions that are specific for your procedure are also available below. A copy of these will be given to you upon discharge from the surgery center.
Cold therapy is extremely useful during your recovery to aid in pain control and reduce postoperative joint swelling. If you obtained an ice machine, please use it as directed by the vendor or nurse. Apply the cold therapy sleeve over a small towel to avoid direct contact with the skin and postoperative incisions. Please use the machine for 20 minutes every hour. Cold therapy is extremely important for the first week after surgery, but it is beneficial for up to 8-12 weeks after surgery, especially after physical therapy or return to activity.
The postoperative bandage applied after surgery should remain in place for the first 2 days (48 hrs) after the procedure. You may carefully remove the bandages on your own at that time. Please cover the incisions (small or large) with a waterproof dressing. Small arthroscopy portal incisions can be covered with water-proof band aids. Larger incisions should be covered with a gauze pad and Tegaderm (plastic wrap) dressing.
KEEP IT HIGH
To manage joint swelling after surgery, it is important to keep the operative area elevated. This will assist in early recovery of motion. If you underwent knee surgery, please try to keep your leg elevated so that your foot is significantly higher than the level of your heart. It is important to keep your leg in full extension (i.e. completely straight) to avoid developing a knee flexion contracture. If you underwent elbow surgery, please try to keep the arm elevated on a small stack of pillows so the hand is elevated. This will prevent hand and finger swelling. Lastly, if you underwent shoulder surgery, you will find it is much easier to rest and sleep in an upright position at an incline. This can be achieved with the use of several pillows or using a recliner.
Dr. Jones encourages his patients to begin physical therapy as soon as possible. In most cases, you will begin physical therapy 2-3 days after your procedure. He will give you specific instructions regarding your specific timeline. His practice coordinator will email you a physical therapy prescription to begin therapy at the designated time. If he prefers to wait to begin physical therapy, your prescription will be given to you at your first postoperative appointment. If you have any questions about when and where to begin physical therapy, please call the academic office at 310-825-6095.
Dr. Jones personally evaluates all of his postoperative patients 10-14 days after surgery and all subsequent postoperative visits. The timeline for these visits will be arranged based upon the type of procedure that was performed and your progress with your therapist.
Please click on one of the postoperative instruction forms below for specific information regarding your procedure.