When you wake up after surgery, you most likely won’t be experiencing pain as local anesthetics may still be in effect. You will follow a multi-modal modern pain protocol right away to help manage your pain throughout your recovery. This includes having IV or oral analgesics while you are still in the hospital and then continuing with oral medications throughout the beginning stages of your rehabilitation.
These medications may include opioids, acetaminophen, and anti-inflammatories. Other natural pain-relieving modalities include cryotherapy, elevation, and compression. Aspirin is also a critical medication that will begin during your first day after surgery. This should be taken daily for the first month to help decrease any risk of developing a blood clot.
You won’t see your incision yet because of the bandages. Still, your incision will be fully closed with a sterile dressing and bandage. You will also be wearing sequential compression devices (SCD)s on both legs to help control the swelling and prevent blood clots.
After surgery, you will be able to transfer to a sitting position. Then you may begin walking with a walker. If everything goes well in terms of pain, you will be allowed to go home on the day of surgery. Under some circumstances, you may have to stay the night. If that is the case, you will have Physical Therapy that day in your room where they will help you transfer, walk, and learn the best positions to place your knee into while you rest.
Whether you get to go home the day of surgery, or the day after, you will want someone to drive you back home and most likely stay with you for the first two weeks. Getting into the car as a passenger can be challenging, as you may have to bend your knee further than you have in a while. Have your driver come in the most spacious car available, scoot the seat back, and carefully transfer into the vehicle.