Bones Home > ACL Surgery Recovery

After ACL surgery, recovery begins in the hospital, where a CPM machine will be used to help improve your knee's range of motion. After you go home, you will wear a brace for a few weeks to keep your leg straight while you walk. Later on, as part of the recovery process, you will have a follow-up visit with your doctor. Stitches will be removed, and a physical therapy program will be set.

Beginning Your Recovery From ACL Surgery

After your ACL surgery, recovery will begin in the special recovery room close to the operating room. In this room, you will be with other post-operative patients, and healthcare providers will be available to assist you with any problems or concerns. You will be kept here until your healthcare providers feel that you are recovered enough to go home, usually within one to two hours after your surgery.
After ACL reconstruction, it is common to feel pain in your knee. Medicine will be given to help relieve this. Swelling of the knee is also common because of the fluid used during the surgery.
It is also common to shiver after receiving general anesthesia. If this happens, your healthcare providers can give you medication to stop the shivering. Warm blankets are also available to comfort you.
Some patients experience nausea after ACL surgery, which can be related to the medications that are used. This is usually only temporary.
Remember that your healthcare provider wants you to recover without any problems, so be sure to report anything that does not feel normal or "right."

What Is a CPM Machine?

Either in the recovery room or in your assigned hospital room, a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine may be placed on your leg. This machine will slowly move your knee a certain amount each day to improve your knee's range of motion. The amount your knee is moved will be increased with time. Depending on your situation, arrangements may be made for a CPM machine to be delivered to your home. You will use this machine six hours a day for one to two weeks until you achieve a certain degree of bending, which will be determined by your doctor.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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