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If you are scheduled for knee surgery, one of the things you will likely be wondering is: how long do steri-strips stay on after knee surgery? These adhesive strips help keep the incision closed and protected after surgery.

In this blog post, we will talk about how long they typically stay on and how to take care of them afterward!

Importance of Steri-Strips Post-Knee Surgery

Steri-strips are small strips of absorbable sutures that are used after knee joint surgery, such as total knee replacement surgery, to close the incision sites.

Steri-strips help to hold the skin together and allow the incision to heal properly. They also help to prevent infection and can be used instead of stitches in some cases.

Infected strips

Normally, steri-strips do not cause any problems. However, there is a small risk of infection, and the signs of infection can include redness, warmth, swelling, and discharge from the wound.

Allergic reactions to the tape or glue used to hold the steri-strips in place are also possible, and signs of an allergic reaction include itching, rash, and difficulty breathing.

Both of these potential adverse events are extremely unlikely, and your body has a normal inflammatory response after surgery. Just be mindful to keep the area clean and watch for any unusual symptoms associated with your incisions.

How Long Do Steri-Strips Stay on After Knee Surgery

Steri-strips will usually stay in place for about seven to 14 days. You may shower while they are in place, but avoid getting them wet if possible.

Once the steri-strips fall off, contact your healthcare provider and immediately schedule a follow-up appointment, if warranted. The healthcare provider will check the wound and decide if it needs to be re-closed with new steri-strips.

Steri-strips are a convenient and easy way to close wounds but always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how long they should stay in place and any best practices they may recommend.

Steps to remove steri-strips

  1. First, check with your healthcare provider to ensure you have waited long enough to remove the steri-strips and/or butterfly stitches.
  2. Then, make sure that your surgical incision is completely healed.
  3. Next, soak the steri-strips in warm water for a few minutes to loosen the adhesive.
  4. Use a clean pair of scissors to carefully cut the stitches before removing the strips.
  5. Finally, gently peel off the strips

With these tips in mind, removing steri-strips after surgery should be a relatively simple and pain-free process.

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Taking Precautions

There are a few precautions you should take while steri-strips are on your knee, and needed.

Showers after anesthesia

If you had general anesthesia for your surgery, wait until it has worn off before showering, as this can increase the risk of falls and other injuries.

Avoid warm baths

Remember if your surgery was very recent normally it is not permissible to get the incision sites wet. This fact makes the possibility of hot baths or a hot tub immediately after surgery very unlikely.

Generally, it is recommended that you take a shower with a plastic bag covering the infected limb. For further instructions check with your doctor for clarity on this item.

Keep it dry

After you shower, make sure that the area is completely dry before putting on clean clothes. You may want to use a blow dryer on a low setting to help speed up the drying process.

Don’t use hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can prevent healing by causing the strips to fall off. In addition, hydrogen peroxide can dry and damage healthy tissue and slow down the healing process. 

Protect from sunlight

After surgery, your skin is more sensitive to sunlight. That’s why it’s best to avoid spending hours under the sun. If you want to go out, be sure to apply sunscreen when you are outside and avoid prolonged sun exposure.

Again, if your wound is not fully healed sunscreen is also not permitted around the incisions.

Can I Put Pressure on My Knee After Surgery? 

Generally, this answer is “It depends”.

Different procedures and surgeons will have different protocols on whether or not it’s advisable to put pressure or much weight on your knee after surgery.

You may start to slowly bend your knee with the bending exercise indicated in the instructions given to you by your therapist or doctor.

If the current protocol given to you by your surgeon requested you stay off your feet, or limit the amount of weight put through your limb, you should certainly comply for the best results.

If you are in this situation and need to move around, only do so with the help of a walker or crutches.

Also, try to keep your knee elevated (when possible) above your lower abdomen and avoid direct water pressure on the incision site while showering.

Remember to always consult with your doctor or surgeon before starting any new physical activity, even if it is just bending exercises. Do not hesitate to ask questions about your post-operative medication and what treatments you can expect during your recovery period.

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Treatment Options After Knee Surgery

After any surgical procedure, patients will often experience pain and swelling around the knee. This understandably also leads them to want to go home and not spend much time in the surgery center.

If you had knee surgery, there are a few home and medical treatment options you should be aware of.

Take narcotic pain medications

To help manage pain, narcotic pain medication may be prescribed. It is important to take this prescription pain medication as directed and to only use it for a short period, as it can be addictive.

Try Tylenol

For those who are dealing with the aftermath of knee surgery, extra-strength Tylenol can be a godsend. This medication helps to reduce inflammation and pain, making it easier for patients to get up and move again.

Attend physical therapy

After surgery, most insurance companies will cover the cost of physical therapy. This is an important step in the healing process, as it helps improve the range of motion and strengthens the muscles around the knee.

While in therapy, always wear clothing that allows you to stretch and move more freely.

Ice your knees

Applying ice to the knee can help reduce swelling and pain. Ice should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Be Consistent

If you want to have a successful post-knee surgery recovery be consistent with your rehabilitation. This means attending all of your appointments, doing your exercises at home, and being patient throughout the process.

It can be easy to get discouraged when you are in pain or feeling frustrated with your progress, but it’s vital to adopt a positive mindset and remember that each day you are getting closer to your goal.

There will be days when you feel like you are not making any progress, but as long as you’re consistently working towards your goals, you’ll eventually get there. Just remember to be patient and stay positive!

About the Author

Hi there! I’m Dr. Keagen Hadley, OTD, OTR/L. Straight out of the University of Mary, I’m all about blending my know-how in knee health, well-being, and medical technology. As a licensed occupational therapy doc, I’m here to translate complex concepts into clear, actionable insights – whether it’s knee care or groundbreaking healthcare tech.

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