Putting Pain under Wraps after Knee SurgeryPatients 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.
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