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What are the Best Tips for Managing Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Pain?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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A doctor or another medical professional will generally provide any needed information for managing arthroscopic knee surgery pain. Patients may be given a choice of what type of anesthesia they will use, based on their own state of health and risk factors for complications. In most cases, a local or regional anesthesia will be used. After surgery, patients should apply as little weight as possible on the knee for several days, followed by several more days of exercises to strengthen the joint. Pain medication will also typically be given after surgery.

Since it is considered minor surgery, arthroscopic knee surgery pain is generally more manageable than many other operations. It is performed by making small incisions in the knee and then inserting a small device with a camera at one end to aid in the surgery. Additional tools may then be used to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, or other areas of the knee.

Most of the time, arthroscopic knee surgery pain management involves the use of anesthesia. This can include local, regional, and general anesthesia. Local numbs only the knee and the immediate surrounding area, regional numbs the entire lower half of the body, and general anesthesia involves putting the patient to sleep and numbing the entire lower half of the body. General anesthesia carries a higher risk of complications than the other two varieties, and is not typically used for short and uncomplicated surgeries. More prolonged or complex operations may require the patient to be asleep.

Once surgery is over and the anesthesia wears off, the doctor will prescribe medication to help alleviate pain. The patient will also typically be advised to avoid putting weight on the affected knee. Doing so can cause more pain than necessary and may aggravate the area so that healing takes longer. The doctor will give a timeline for applying pressure to the injured leg and doing exercises to strengthen the joint. Crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair may be used in the meantime.

Patients will also usually be given a prescription medication to help with arthroscopic knee surgery pain. The exact drug will depend on each individual and his or her pain tolerance and any potential interactions with medications he or she is already taking. Additional factors may include drug allergies and sensitivities.

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