First couple days post-op: help!
Originally Posted by faisasy
First few days post-op
The rest of the day after surgery, I stayed mostly in bed. I was still very tired, groggy, and nauseous. Fortunately I was not feeling much pain. The knee would start throbbing every 4-5 hours, I'd take some Percoset, it'd be alright again. Did the CPM machine up to 30 degrees that first day. While I was able to walk around on crutches with weight on the operated leg, I didn't really feel like waking around too much. Kept the Cryo-Cuff going. Didn't eat much because my stomach felt all messed up. I had craving for the weirdest things, stuff that I never normally want, like Fruit Loops cereal, chicken wings and other "bad" food! Sleeping that night was a bit hard, since my leg was immobile in the brace.
On the second day, did the CPM machine and went up to 60 degrees, although it felt like I could go more. Still felt weak and nauseous. But the one thing that was driving me crazy was not being able to bend the knee because of the brace. I looked at the post-op instructions, and they listed exercises I should do right away, including heel-slides. Since I couldn't do heel-slides with the brace on, that was my indication that I could take the brace off -- so I did (and haven't used it since). It felt great to be able to move the knee around -- like finally scratching an itch you couldn't get to. In terms of pain, I was taking Percoset every 4 hours -- basically the throbbing would return when it wore off. I was very surprised -- I expected to feel a lot more pain, and it was relatively pain-free. I thought that maybe all of the anaesthesia had not worn off yet, and kept dreading imminent pain. The only sharp pain I felt was sometimes on the hamstring when pulling the leg up (e.g. when walking) -- felt like a really bad localized cramp. Understandable, since the hamstring was missing a piece!
By the third day I settled into a routine. I was up to 90 degrees on the CPM. Stopped taking Percoset and took Ibuprofen only when needed -- that helped get rid of the nausea (although it took a day or so before it completely went away) and I was able to eat normal food. Did the quad isometrics and heel-slides regularly -- still couldn't do straight leg raises. Walked around on crutches a bit more. I could put my weight on the leg fine, but it just didn't feel stable or strong enough yet.
Dr. Foulk also called on Sunday (day 2 after surgery) to see how I was doing. It was very nice of him to do so, since he was on vacation, but he just wanted to check up on me. He told me to keep the knee moving and get as much ROM as possible.
The main frustrating part was the stiffness of the knee. If I was sitting with the knee bent at 90 degrees, it was very stiff to get it straight again, and vice versa.
First post-op appt., Tuesday, March-27-2007 (4 days post-op)
Since Dr. Foulk was on vacation, I saw the nurse practitioner. She took off the dressing so I could finally see the knee for the first time. It actually didn't look too badly swollen. The tape strips covering the scars were small and the "wounds" didn't look too gross. I did have a huge bruise at the back of the knee -- it was a very dark purple in patches. It is apparently pretty common -- because I'd had the Cryo-Cuff on and kept the top of the knee compressed/iced, all the bruising had moved to the back of the knee. They checked my extension and flexion. My extension was very good -- laying down, I could touch the exam-table with the back of the knee. Flexion was at 95 degrees. I was okay to go into PT, twice a week.
First PT session, Thursday, March-29-2007 (6 days post-op)
Went back to see Judd at Physiotherapy Associates. Man, did it feel good! He moved the knee around, massaged the back of the knee, and just generally loosened it up. Flexion was at 95 degrees unassisted, 100 degrees assisted. He was pleasantly surprised at my full extension -- said I did not need to work on that anymore. He said that after ACL surgery, extension is the thing that needs to worked on quickly. Flexion takes time due to the swelling in the knee, but it will almost always come back. So in that respect, I was fortunate that I had full extension. Did the eletrical stimulation of the quad and got the GameReady treatment. Still on crutches with weight-bearing.
Hi, I just had my ACL reconstruction surgery yesterday morning (right knee, allograft). Just discovered this thread, and want to ask about some discrepancies between your experience and mine.
I was not given a "CPM machine". Some articles on the Internet suggest that not using one could slow down the recovery process significantly:http://www.orthopedictechreview.com/...aug03/pg28.htm
Should I then ask my doctor for one? If the machine is so useful, why wouldn't everyone get one?
I did pick up, a few days before the surgery, an "EB-Ice" unit, which is designed to continously circulate ice water to pads on my knee for the first three days after surgery, and sporadically thereafter. On my knee there are the bandages, then the icing pads, then a gauze wrapping, then a brace of some sort (closes with velcro).
Now, the icing unit clapped out after 3 hours at home, and I can't get a hold of anyone in the doctor's office as it's the weekend. What is more important, keeping the gauze and brace on for purposes of compression and immobilization? Or should I remove the brace, gauze and pads, and ice down the knee the old fashioned way? And what about motion? -- As far as I knew, I was supposed to wait for the Thursday post-op appointment before any of the stuff on my knee was going to be removed.
Reading now about this CPM machine makes me worry about the knee/joint getting really stiff; at the same time I'm also worried about removing the brace without doc's advice.
My doc has a good reputation as a surgeon, but I'm feeling now as if I didn't quite get a comprehensive low-down on the post-op.