At Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, our sports medicine doctors are committed to helping clients regain their quality of life. To do this, we offer several minimally invasive procedures with minimal recovery times to get you back on your feet faster. Today, we answer some of our most frequently asked questions about one of our most commonly performed procedures: knee arthroscopy.
Sports Medicine Doctor FAQs
How Do I Prepare for Knee Arthroscopy?
The first step in preparing for knee arthroscopy is to schedule an initial consultation with one of our sports medicine doctors. He will evaluate your knee joint by conducting a physical examination. If necessary, he will also conduct an MRI scan or take x-rays of your affected knee. This allows him to verify that knee arthroscopy is the appropriate procedure for you.
What Personal Information Does a Sports Medicine Doctor Need to Know?
We strongly encourage our clients to bring in a list of all current medications and nutritional supplements they are taking, including the dosage and frequency. This allows us to identify potential contraindications to general anesthesia. For instance, if you have a blood disease, you will need to speak with your primary care physician and see if you can stop taking blood thinners.
We also need to know about any medications or nutritional supplements you have taken recently. Furthermore, we will be assessing your overall health and reviewing your medical history. Depending on the results of your physical examination, we may need to order blood work and an ECG (electrocardiogram). Please let us know if any of the following apply:
- Nicotine consumption
- Recent illness
- Chronic illness
- Pre-existing lung condition
- Pre-existing heart condition
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Bleeding disorders
What Happens Next?
As stated previously, you may need to stop taking blood thinners for seven days before your procedure. However, you should never stop taking any medication without express permission from your primary care physician. The most common example of blood thinners is NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
You may be taking these drugs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen sodium, for your knee pain regularly. If you are, start taking Tylenol for your pain. You’ll also want to watch out for warfarin anticoagulants, such as Coumadin, and nutritional supplements such as garlic, vitamins E and K, and fish oil.
Can I Smoke Before My Procedure?
Cigarettes contain over 100 chemical compounds, including nicotine. Nicotine elevates your blood pressure by constricting your blood vessels. This means that vital healing nutrients will struggle, and sometimes fail, to reach your knee. Your injured knee needs all the nutrients it can get, and your blood pressure needs to be normal before you receive anesthesia.
You may not start taking smoking cessation products as an alternative, either. These products, such as e-liquids, gums, and patches, all contain nicotine. If you are deeply connected to the “hand-to-mouth” action associated with smoking, you may vape an e-liquid with no nicotine or CBD oil.
How Do I Stop Smoking?
Ask your primary care physician for resources on how to stop smoking. There may be a local program that can help you. While we are not addiction specialists, we suggest that our clients go cold turkey. Research shows that the first 72 hours without nicotine get you over the physical addiction. From there, it is all psychological.
If for whatever reason, you don’t want to go cold turkey, cut back slowly over the course of six to eight weeks. For instance, if you usually smoke one or more packs a day, start vaping a 12-nic strength e-juice. Then, cut down to 9 mg, 6 mg, 4 mg, 3 mg, 2 mg, 1.5 mg, and finally 0-nic juice. Just be aware that you must go for six weeks without nicotine before your procedure.
Can I Take Caffeine Supplements Before My Procedure?
Like nicotine, caffeine elevates your blood pressure. Your blood pressure must be within a healthy range before anesthesia is administered. We strongly encourage our clients to start weaning themselves off caffeine as quickly as possible without going through withdrawal. Keep in mind, caffeine supplements include more than just pills.
You must also avoid taking large doses of caffeine in other forms, such as energy drinks and energy shots. Drinking caffeinated coffee and tea is okay because they are not strong enough to act as diuretics. Pain killers with caffeine added, such as Excedrin, are also okay as they are not designed to act as a diuretic and contain a fairly low dose of caffeine.
Can I Drink Alcohol Before My Procedure?
Like nicotine and caffeine, alcohol elevates your blood pressure. Moreover, like caffeine, it acts as a diuretic, flushing out vital water and nutrients when they are needed by your knee for recovery. As with nicotine, you should stop drinking in the six weeks leading up to your procedure. Similarly, you should avoid alcohol consumption during the first six weeks post-op.
How Can I Tell if I Am Adequately Hydrated?
To tell if you are adequately hydrated, inspect the color of your urine before you flush it. If you are adequately hydrated, your urine should be translucent or extremely pale yellow. If you feel thirsty, you have been dehydrated for quite a while. Thirst is a significant lag indicator of dehydration. Lead indicators of dehydration include dark urine and feelings of lethargy or hunger.
In most parts of the country, drinking around half a gallon of water daily is enough to stay hydrated. In Phoenix, most people need to drink around a gallon of water daily, especially if they work a blue-collar job or participate in sports regularly.
If I Have High Blood Pressure, Should I Watch My Salt Intake?
Everyone considering knee arthroscopy should watch their sodium intake in the two weeks leading up to their procedure. If you have naturally high blood pressure, make sure you are consuming no more than a gram of salt daily. If you have normal blood pressure, limit your sodium intake to two grams daily.
If you have low blood pressure and suffer from excessive nighttime urination, you may consume up to three grams of salt daily. This will help to normalize your blood pressure and help your body retain more of the water you drink. If you eat processed foods, such as cans of soup or pasta, make sure you read the labels. The amount of sodium you consume every day may be dangerous.
Can I Eat Before My Procedure?
Your stomach must be empty before you are put under general anesthesia. Therefore, you should not eat or drink anything within eight hours pre-op. For instance, if your procedure is scheduled for 2 PM, you should not eat or drink anything after 6 AM. You may take a small sip of water if necessary to take medication on the day of your procedure.
How Should I Prepare on the Day of My Procedure?
On the day of your procedure, bathe or shower as you normally would. However, you must not shave the knee. You also must avoid any cosmetics, such as lotions. To make getting dressed after your procedure easier, we strongly recommend that you wear baggy gym shorts.
We also recommend that you lay out your outfit the night before your procedure so you have one less thing to think about. If you feel anxious, try military breathing or deep breathing meditation to calm your nerves. This procedure is minimally invasive, recovery is quick, and it will improve your quality of life more than you can imagine.
How Should I Prepare My Home for My Recovery?
It may sound silly, but the first step in preparing your home for recovery is to clean it. A clean home is a calming home. Even if you don’t realize you’re bothered by the pet hair, dust, and disorganized areas, you are subconsciously bothered. Many people feel bored during their recovery and will look for something to do, like cleaning, which may aggravate their knee.
Once your home is clean, start cooking. Prepare nine healthy meals in advance of your procedure so you don’t have to prep, cook, and clean your kitchen during the first three days post-op. These healthy meals should center around bioavailable protein and soluble fiber. Great sources of these nutrients include legumes, peas, beans, and quinoa.
How Can I Keep Myself Entertained During Recovery?
This depends on your personal preferences. You may want to prepare a recovery room in your home that has a television in it and play your favorite movies. It will give you a comforting feeling of nostalgia, and since you already know the plot by heart, you can doze in and out of sleep as the anesthesia continues to wear off.
Alternatively, you may want to download a few engaging apps on your phone. For instance, there are several free apps like number puzzles, word puzzles, and paint by numbers to keep you occupied.
How Can I Make My Recovery More Comfortable?
To make your recovery more comfortable, have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours post-op. This is particularly important if you have a pet or child to care for. In your recovery room, you should have a recliner, several pillows, or a couple of bath towels. In the first 48 hours post-op, you will need to elevate your knee above your heart when sitting or lying down.
You may also want to apply an ice pack to your knee for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, two to three times per day, during the first week post-op. Finally, if you don’t like the analgesic you were prescribed, please call the sports medicine doctors at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ to ask about receiving a different analgesic.
When Can I Get Back to My Life?
This depends on several factors, including your overall health before the procedure and how strictly you adhere to your physical therapist’s instructions. Most of our clients are able to return to their office job within one week post-op. Our clients who work blue-collar jobs can usually return to work within two weeks post-op.
Exercises recommended by your physical therapist should be started the day after your procedure. You should also start walking as much as you comfortably can, starting the day after your procedure. Vigorous exercises should be avoided during the first four to eight weeks post-op depending on how you feel.
Discover How to Improve Your Quality of Life Today
While knee arthroscopy is minimally invasive, there are still several steps you need to take to prepare. For more information on this procedure, please contact Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ today to schedule your initial consultation.