Your recovery from an arthroscopy can vary depending on the type of surgery, your general health and the type of work that you do.
After the operation
After your arthroscopy, you will be taken to a room to recover from the effects of the general anaesthetic, if you have had one.
You may experience some pain in the joint. If you do, tell a member of the hospital staff who will be able to give you painkillers.
Most people who have an arthroscopy are able to leave hospital either on the day of the surgery or the following morning. Before leaving hospital, you may have an appointment with a physiotherapist to discuss exercises for you to do at home.
You may be advised to elevate the joint and apply ice packs to help with swelling. Depending on the surgery, you may be given special pumps or compression bandages to help improve blood flow.
It is likely that you will feel tired and light-headed after having a general anaesthetic, so you will need to ask a responsible adult to take you home and to stay with you for the first 24 hours following surgery. Most people will recover from the effects of the anaesthetic within 48 hours.
Any dressings will need to be kept as dry as possible, so you will need to cover them with a plastic bag when having a bath or shower. If your dressings do get wet or fall off, they will need to be replaced.
As a general rule, most children can return to school within a week of having surgery and most adults are able to return to work within three to six weeks.
You will be able to drive again once it is safe for you to make an emergency stop without damaging the affected joint. Depending on the procedure, this may be a few weeks or several months after surgery. Your surgeon will be able to give you a more specific recommendation.
Your surgeon will also be able to advise you about how long it will be before you can undertake strenuous physical activities, such as heavy lifting and sport. For most people this will be around six to eight weeks after surgery.
You will usually be asked to attend a follow-up appointment four to six weeks after the operation to discuss the results of the surgery, your recovery and any additional treatment that you may require.