Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Putting Pain under Wraps after Knee Surgery

Patients with various knee problems may benefit by having an arthroscopic examination of the knee. In an arthroscopic exam, the doctor inserts a slender instrument with a tiny TV camera on the end into the joint. This allows the doctor to look inside the joint and assess the problem.

The operation doesn't require any large cuts or incisions. Two or three small puncture holes are all that are needed. Even so, patients tend to have quite a bit of discomfort afterward. The knee may swell and feel hot from inflammation. This can cause limited knee motion.

A new dressing called a pain wrap is being used to control pain after an arthroscopic exam. The pain wrap is placed around the knee and removed only to do exercises. The dressing is changed every other day. All dressings are removed after a week.

In this study, the pain wrap decreased patients' pain. However, it didn't change how much pain medication patients took. The joint had less swelling and the skin temperature was cooler with the pain wrap compared to patients who didn't receive the wrap. Knee range of motion was the same in the two groups.

More studies are needed to compare the pain wrap with other post-operative methods of treatment.

Jennifer K. Hayden, RN, MSN, and Brian J. Cole, MD, MBA. The Effectiveness of a Pain Wrap Compared to a Standard Dressing on the Reduction of Postoperative Morbidity Following Routine Knee Arthroscopy: A Prospective Randomized Single-Blind Study. In Orthopedics. January 2003. Vol. 26. No. 1. Pp. 59-63.


*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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