Post-Operative Instructions

Welcome home. You have now successfully completed the first stage of your recovery. Here are some basic instructions to help you through this recovery period:

  • All dressings and splints should be kept clean and dry unless otherwise instructed.
  • All basic knee and shoulder arthroscopy patients may remove dressing 3 days post-op. That includes everything down to the sutures. You may then shower or sponge bath and then just place band-aids over the incisions.
  • All reconstructions including ACL/Rotator cuff and/or fractures should keep dressings on until the first post-operative visit.
  • Slings and braces should be worn and not taken off until the first post-operative visit.

Pain Control

  • You have been prescribed medication, please take it!
  • Often after leaving the recovery room you have been given some medication. Please start taking your prescribed medication around 4-6 hours after you leave the recovery room.
  • “No Pain, No Gain” is not appropriate at this time. There is extensive evidence that if you blunt the initial post-operative pain response by taking your medicine early and consistently, the discomfort that you may feel will not be as bad. Please “don’t be a martyr!"
  • Ice can be very helpful in reducing pain post-operatively. You can apply ice to the area in a sealed bag over the dressing. You may not feel it when the dressing is on but there is still some good that can come from doing it. Apply to the area for 10-15 minutes every 1-2 hours. After the dressings are removed, please separate the ice from the skin with a cloth or towel to protect the skin.
  • Elevation:
    • Lower Extremities: Especially important for lower extremity surgery. Elevation prevents swelling which causes pain. Obviously, you need to take care of yourself while you are at home, so going to the bathroom, kitchen, or store for food is ok. Anytime you are reclining please place pillows under the lower leg, not the knee, to facilitate elevation. 
    • Upper Extremity: Obviously very difficult to do when in a sling. Not of crucial importance.

Weight Bearing Status

  • You will be informed and instructed after surgery whether you will be full weight bearing, partial weight bearing or non-weight bearing.
  • Ambulatory assistive devices including walkers, crutches, and/or canes will be provided. If you have your own, please let the staff know prior to the scheduled surgery date. 
Braces & Slings
  • If indicated for surgery, they will be provided by the staff prior to surgery. PLEASE BRING IT WITH YOU TO SURGERY.
Clothing Post-Op
  • No matter what procedure you are having please wear loose and easily removable clothing to be able to fit over a sling and or knee brace/dressings. A button-down shirt works well for upper extremity procedures.
Arrival & Departure
  • You may come to the facility by yourself but must have a companion to escort you home. New York State law does not allow you to go home by yourself, call a cab, or order an Uber to get you home.
Post-Operative Visit
  • Your first visit should be approximately 1 week after surgery. Please contact our office to confirm.
Physical Therapy
  • Unless otherwise indicated most physical therapy will not begin before your first post-operative visit. You will not lose any rehabilitation benefits by waiting 1 week.
Common Concerns
  • Swelling: An inevitable result from surgery. Elevation is the key to mitigating this. Icing the area can also help.
  • Bruising: Again, often a response to surgery and or injury. Sometimes bruising develops a few days after the procedure. Don’t be concerned as this is often normal.
  • Pain: Please take your medication. If at any time pain becomes intolerable, don’t hesitate to contact the office. Someone is available 24/7 to help.