You will be given a prescription for pain medication either prior to surgery or at discharge. Take medication as directed. It may make you drowsy. Do not drive when taking pain medications. These medications are to keep you as comfortable as possible, but they may not completely eliminate discomfort.
For some procedures, your surgeon may order a nerve block. These are administered by the anesthesiologist before or after surgery. An anesthetic is applied around the appropriate nerve to block pain in the surgical area. This often is a single shot, though sometimes patients are sent home with a catheter attached to a small pump which delivers a dose of numbing medication at precise intervals directly to the nerve. When used, these remain in place for 2-3 days. Nerve blocks help with pain control and decreases the amount of oral narcotics needed for those first few days after surgery. Nerve blocks are used with some shoulder, knee, or leg surgeries.
Ice is very important after almost all surgeries to help decrease pain and swelling. With some shoulder or knee surgeries, you may be sent home with a CryoCuff or Ice Man system surrounding your operative joint. This machine provides chilled water to the area to decrease swelling, inflammation, and pain. Whether or not an ice system is used, you are encouraged to apply ice for at least a week after surgery. After that, use as needed to help with pain control or swelling.
Continuous Passive Motion Machines (CPM)
These are infrequently used with some knee surgeries. The motorized device gradually moves the joint. If appropriate, your surgeon will discuss and order this machine prior to surgery.