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What to expect after the operation

There will be some variation both in the extent of each individual patient’s surgery and their body’s response to it; patient recovery programmes may therefore vary.


You’ll have between 2 and 4 scars around your kneecap. Each one will be about 1–2 cm in width. They may be closed with dissolvable stitches, skin glue or stitches that need to be removed. They are usually covered with waterproof dressings.


If you have stitches that need to be removed, this can usually be done by the practice nurse at your GP surgery, 7–14 days after your operation. Your hospital should already have given you advice about how your wounds are closed and how to care for them.


It is wise to keep the scars covered for the first 48 hours and then leave them uncovered. You do not need to worry about getting the scars wet after the first 48 hours. Many patients have concerns that standing up straight will pull at the stitches. Don’t worry about this. Getting out of bed and standing up straight will actually help you to recover more quickly.


Your surgeon may have put some local anaesthetic on your knee during the surgery and will give you some pain relieving tablets to take home. You will experience pain and discomfort around the scars, especially in the first few days, and you will also experience some swelling in the knee. This is all perfectly normal, but you should seek advice if your knee starts to bleed.


Your body is using energy to heal itself, so you may feel more tired than normal – as your physical activity levels improve you will steadily start to feel less tired.

Pain relief

Painkillers may well cause constipation, so it is important to get plenty of fibre in your diet while you are recovering. Fresh fruit and vegetables will help to keep your bowels moving regularly and try to drink plenty of water, but no more than 2 litres a day.

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