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Post-Operative Instructions

Surgery Instructions

  1. Go to and click “PRE-OP VIDEOS” at the top right. Watch the videos 1 through 11 to learn more about specific instructions for your procedure.
  2. If you have a Physical Therapy prescription in your surgery packet, please call ASAP and make an appointment with Physical Therapy for 2-3 days after your surgery.
  3. Dr. Cantrell will normally send you home from surgery with 2 different medication prescriptions: a pain medication and a nausea medication.
  4. Please keep the bandage clean and dry. Getting it wet from an outside source increases your chances of developing an infection.
  5. You may or may not see sutures, as sutures may be dissolvable sutures placed under the skin. Once your bandage has been removed, you may shower and towel the area dry. Any incisions shorter than 1 inch may get wet in the shower. Do not submerge your operative site under water until the incisions are healed.
  6. Incisions 1 inch or longer should be kept clean and dry until your follow-up appointment with Dr. Cantrell. Incisions 1 inch or longer may be cleaned with alcohol daily. Do not submerge your operative site under water until the incisions are healed.
  7. It is very important to elevate the operative extremity higher than your heart to help decrease swelling. If you had surgery on your knee, pumping your ankle back and forth (as if you were pumping a brake pedal) several times per hour is helpful, to keep your blood flowing and prevent blood clots. Cold therapy (ice) may be used in 20-minute intervals as needed to decrease swelling and pain.
  8. Bruising and swelling are common side effects after surgery. If bruising or swelling is extensive or painful call Dr. Cantrell’s office. NOTE: For those having knee surgery, dark bruising may occur in the thigh, or lower leg and foot. For those having shoulder surgery, dark bruising down the arm may be noted. These are common occurrences after knee or shoulder surgery.
  9. If you are having surgery on the hand, wrist or arm, elevate the hand and pump your fingers back and forth (straight, bent, straight) to minimize swelling. If you are having surgery on thelower leg, ankle or foot, elevate it and exercise your toes (keep them moving).

Call the doctor if:

  1. An excessive amount of bleeding is noticed through the bandage. Note: some drainage is expected the first 48 hours after the surgery.
  2. Your fingers or toes become excessively discolored or numb.
  3. There is an increase in body temperature (101.5 degrees or over), significant redness of the skin around the incision site, unusual drainage, foul smell, or other signs of infection.

ACL Reconstruction

Knee Arthroscopy

MPFL Reconstruction

Shoulder Arthroscopy

Surgery Instructions

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