For an Appointment: (480) 964-2908

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Sports Medicine & ShoulderSpecialist in Gilbert Arizona
Matthew L. Hansen, MD

Matthew L. Hansen, MD

Orthopedic surgeonBoard Certified in Orthopedic SurgeryBoard Certified in Sports Medicine

Postop Knee Fractures

Weight Bearing & Brace

This is dependent on the procedure performed:

Patella Open Reduction Internal Fixation

You will use an immobilizer following surgery. Your knee should be kept in this brace at all times. You should be toe-touch weight bearing until you follow up in clinic. This means you will place your foot on the ground to “hold your place,” but will not put any weight on the foot. If you are doing this correctly, all muscles in your hip and leg will be relaxed. Use your walker or crutches EVERY time you are out of bed or chair. You will be instructed on how to progress your weight bearing status at your first clinic visit.

Tibia Plateau Repair

You will use a brace to wear after surgery. This should be worn at all times, and must be locked out straight EVERY TIME you walk for at least 6 weeks. You may NOT put your weight on your operative leg. That means that you MUST use crutches or a walker EVERY TIME you walk for 6 weeks. We DO want you to be up and around at home as much as possible after surgery.

Moving Your Knee

This is dependent on the procedure performed:

Patella Open Reduction Internal Fixation

You should keep your knee in extension at all times until instructed otherwise by your surgeon. You should elevate your foot when seated and in bed to your heart level or above to help reduce swelling.

Tibia Plateau Repair

You may take your leg out of the brace when you are seated and awake and allow the knee to go into minimal (less than 30 degrees) flexion. You should elevate your foot when seated and in bed to your heart level or above to help reduce swelling.

Leg exercises

You should not do any leg exercises following surgery with the exception of ankle pumps.

Ice

Use a commercially available ice bag or fill a large plastic bag with ice and water. (Do not place a plastic bag directly on your skin, but place a towel on your knee in between your skin and the ice bag.) You can ice your knee 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off throughout the day. Do not ice your leg longer than 30 minutes at a time, as this can cause frost bite. Ice is most helpful in the first 3 days after surgery, but can help up to 2 weeks after surgery. We do not recommend that you use heat, as this can increase swelling.

Bandages

You may remove your bandages and shower three days after surgery. If you have white Steri Strips, DO NOT remove them. It is OK to get your incisions wet after the bandage is removed, but it is very important not to soak the incision underwater (no bath, pool, hot tub etc…) for 3 weeks. It is OK to wash the incisions gently with soap and gently pat dry with a towel. Do not place any lotion or other ointment on your incisions. Cover them with Band-Aids for comfort and put the ACE wrap back on just tight enough so that it does not fall off.

Medications

You will be given a narcotic pain medicine (such as Percocet – oxycodone, Norco – hydrocodone, or Tylenol#3 – Codeine). We will prescribe a different medication if you cannot take these. Take this AS NEEDED only. Do not take additional Tylenol (sometimes called acetaminophen) with these medicines, as they already have Tylenol in them. You may SUBSTITUTE Tylenol for a narcotic pill if you choose to. Be certain that you do not exceed the maximum Tylenol dose as noted on the Tylenol bottle. Pain medicines often cause constipation, so you may want to purchase an over-the-counter stool softener (for example – Dulcolax, or you may also ask the Pharmacist) to take along with these medicines. It is best to take most of these medicines with some food, as they can all cause a little stomach upset.

You may have received Phenergan (promethazine) or Zofran (ondansetron). You may take these medications if you are having nausea or vomiting.

You should take Aspirin following surgery to help prevent a blood clot. Take one full-strength pill (325 mg) twice a day. If you are unable to take Aspirin, you should take another blood thinner. Discuss this immediately with your surgeon. You should also wear the compression stockings that were placed on you following surgery.

Please do not take NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Motrin, as these may slow healing of bone and tendon.

Follow-up Appointments

You should have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon in about 2 weeks if you stay overnight in the hospital. If you do not stay in the hospital, you will have an additional visit with the Physician’s Assistant within a few days of your surgery. Call (480) 964-2908 right away if you do not have an appointment already scheduled. We will check your incisions and remove any sutures at the 2-week visit. We will also answer any specific questions you may have about your surgery. We will consider getting you into Physical Therapy if this has not been arranged, as many patients benefit from PT after knee surgery.

Call our office at (480) 964-2908 with any urgent or emergent questions or concerns that you may have, or if you develop swelling in your leg with calf pain, swelling that will not go away when you elevate your leg, a temperature above 101.4, or drainage from your incisions.

If you experience any of these symptoms: go to an Emergency Department close to your house: High fever (above 102.5), chest pain, difficulty breathing, fainting, or bleeding.

AOSSM AAOS: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons® / American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons® ORS | Orthopaedic Research Society ARIZONA ORTHOPAEDIC SOCIETY OrthoArizona