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Loose Body Knee Surgery Recovery Time: What to Expect


If you are one of the many people who require loose-body knee surgery, then you may be wondering what to expect in terms of recovery time for your knee joint. This blog post will give you a general overview of the healing process so that you can plan appropriately.

Keep in mind that everyone heals differently, so your experience may vary from what is described here. We wish you a speedy and successful recovery. Enjoy the post on loose body knee surgery recovery time!

What is Loose Body Knee Surgery

Loose-body arthroscopic knee surgery is a common orthopedic procedure used to treat knee pain. It involves removing loose bodies, or pieces of cartilage or bone, from the knee joint. This can be done with arthroscopic surgery (arthroscopic loose body removal), which is a minimally invasive technique that uses small incisions and a small camera to visualize the inside of the knee joint.

Loose-body knee surgery can also be done as open surgery, which requires larger incisions. This type of surgery is usually only necessary if the loose bodies are large or if there is damage to the surrounding soft tissues.

Other examples of open surgery are anterior cruciate ligament injuries that require ACL reconstruction.

During both an arthroscopic or open knee arthroscopy, general anesthesia is utilized on the day of surgery. Both of these types of surgery are generally referred to as “day surgery” meaning you would not have to stay overnight in the hospital. These surgeries also have short-term follow-up periods with the doctor, meaning you don’t have to return numerous times to ensure everything is going smoothly.

How do I Know if I Need a Loose Body Knee Surgery?

Your orthopedic surgeon will usually recommend loose-body knee surgery if you are experiencing pain and/or swelling in your knee joint that is not relieved by conservative treatments such as rest, ice, and physical therapy.

Confirmation of an MRI scan or the use of ultrasound is generally required to move forward with the surgery. This is because a surgeon will need to ensure it is truly a loose body that is causing the knee pain.

How is the Surgery Performed?

The orthopedic surgeon will make small incisions around the knee and insert a camera to visualize the inside of the joint. The surgical treatment will then remove the loose bodies with special instruments, leaving only small cuts as potential scars. The surgical procedure usually takes less than an hour to complete.


Who is a Good Candidate for This Surgery

Most people who require loose body knee surgery are active individuals, such as athletes, who have damaged their knee joints through repetitive motion. Typical athletic injuries that require this surgery are patellofemoral pain syndrome and meniscus tears.

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a condition that causes pain in the front of the knee and around the patella, or kneecap. It is often caused by repetitive motion, such as running or jumping. This type of injury is common in athletes who participate in sports that involve a lot of running and jumping.

Meniscus Tears

The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that sits between the femur and tibia, or shinbone. Your meniscus acts like a shock absorber for both knee joints. A meniscus tear is generally a small tear in cartilage common in athletes and can be caused by repetitive motion or traumatic injury. This medical condition is also a twisting type of injury for athletes.

This type of surgery is also often performed on people who have arthritis or other degenerative diseases of the knee and is often seen as the onset of long-term wear. Typical types of degenerative diseases associated with this surgery are:


-Rheumatoid arthritis

-Post-traumatic arthritis

-Avascular necrosis


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage that cushions the knee joint breaks down. This can happen due to age, repetitive motion, or injury.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes damage to the joints. It typically affects people who are middle-aged or older.

Post-traumatic arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis occurs after an injury to the knee joint, which can result in knee problems. The most common type of injury that leads to this condition is a torn meniscus.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is a condition that occurs when the blood supply to the bone is cut off. This can happen due to an injury or illness.


Benefits of Loose Body Knee Surgery

The main benefit of loose body knee surgery is that it can provide relief from pain and other symptoms caused by loose bodies in the knee joint. This type of surgery can also help to improve the range of motion and function in the affected knee.

Besides improving the range of motion, loose body knee surgery can also:

-Pain relief

-Restore function

-Improve range of motion

Loose Body Knee Surgery Recovery Time

Most people who have loose-body knee surgery will experience a quick and relatively easy recovery. You can expect to be in the hospital for one to two days after your surgery.

During this time, you will likely have some pain and swelling in your knee. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help you manage this discomfort.

You will also need to keep your knee elevated and iced with ice packs for the first few days following surgery. This will help reduce swelling and pain.

You should start physical therapy within a week of your surgery. Your physical therapist will help you regain range of motion and strength in your knee joint.

Most people make a full recovery from loose body knee surgery within four to six weeks. However, it may take up to three months before you are completely pain-free and have the full range of motion in your knee.

After Surgery

After loose-body knee surgery, you will likely experience some pain and swelling. This is normal and will gradually improve over time. Your doctor will prescribe medication to help you manage any discomfort.

It is important to take it easy during this time and not put too much stress on your knee. This means avoiding activities that are high-impact or require a lot of jumping or running.

Swimming is a great low-impact activity that you can do to stay active during your recovery. It is important to note that you cannot resume swimming until your incisions are fully healed.


Physical and Occupational Therapy Following Surgery

Your doctor will likely recommend that you start physical therapy within a week of your loose-body knee surgery. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process as it helps you regain range of motion and strength in your knee joint.

The therapist will design a custom rehabilitation program for you based on your individual needs. Typical things that you will work on in physical therapy include:

– range of motion exercises

– strength training

– balance and coordination exercises

– pain management

You may also need to see an occupational therapist if your loose body knee surgery has caused any limitations in your ability to perform activities of daily living. The therapist can provide you with adaptive equipment and show you how to modify everyday tasks so that you can function optimally.

Additionally, the occupational therapist can help you address the psychosocial or emotional challenges that you may go through as a result of the surgery.

During both kinds of therapy, extra attention will be spent focusing around the knee cap to ensure other loose pieces of cartilage are not impeding your progress on your thigh muscles

Effect of Therapy on Healing Process

While the surgeon and the surgery are an integral part of your recovery and removing the mass from your leg, it is the therapist and how diligently you follow your home training program that will determine your outcomes.

The therapist will help you regain motion and strength but cannot do the work for you outside of therapy. You must follow all instructions given to you by both your surgeon and your therapist to have a successful outcome from surgery.

Exercises to Promote Healing

There are certain exercises that you can do at home to help with your recovery. These should only be done with the approval of your surgeon and/or therapist as they may not be appropriate for everyone. Some exercises that may be recommended include:

– ankle pumps

– leg raises

– quadriceps sets

– mini crunches

Remaining active and doing these exercises as recommended will help improve blood flow to the area and promote healing.

Activities You Can Resume After Surgery 

After you have made a full recovery, you can resume all of your normal activities. This includes things like running, playing sports, and working out. But before you can continue with the more rigorous activities it is important to get back to your daily routine as quickly as possible.



You can usually resume driving within one to two weeks after loose body knee surgery. You should only drive when you are no longer taking pain medication and your range of motion has returned to normal.


If you have a sedentary job, you may be able to return to work within a week or two after surgery. If your job requires more physical activity, you may need to take four to six weeks off before returning.

If you have any concerns or questions about your recovery, be sure to talk to your doctor. They can provide you with guidance and support throughout the process.

Complications During or After Surgery 

Although loose body knee surgery is typically a safe and effective procedure, there are always risks associated with any surgery. Inflammatory conditions during or after loose body knee surgery are rare but can include:

– Infection

– Excessive bleeding

– Blood clots

– Nerve damage

While most of these complications are extraordinarily rare, it is important to be aware of them.

When to Call the Doctor

You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following after loose body knee surgery:

– increasing pain that is not relieved by pain or anti-inflammatory medications

– redness, swelling, or drainage from your incisions

– fever

– chills

– nausea or vomiting

– shortness of breath

Your doctor will be able to determine if you are experiencing any complications and can provide you with the appropriate treatment to ensure you are in less pain or discomfort during normal activities.

How to Prepare For Surgery Emotionally and Physically

Now that you know what to expect after loose body knee surgery, it is important to start preparing for the procedure. This includes both emotional and physical preparation.

First, you should start by talking to your doctor about any concerns or questions that you may have. It is also important to understand the risks and potential complications associated with the surgery.

You should also begin to prepare for the recovery process by making any necessary arrangements at home or work. This may include arranging for someone to help you with daily tasks or getting your home set up in a way that will make it easier for you to get around.

The best way to ensure your home is set up for this situation is to spend one day noting everything you do, and how much mobility and strength are required in your lower extremities. My clients have found this technique to play an important role in the initiation of their rehabilitation program.

Finally, you should start to focus on your physical health by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. This will help to ensure that you are in the best possible shape for surgery and recovery.

Loose-body knee surgery is a relatively minor procedure, but it is still important to be prepared for it both emotionally and physically. By following these tips, you can help to ensure a smooth and successful surgery and recovery

Cost of Loose Body Knee Surgery

While the cost of loose body knee surgery will vary depending on several factors, it is typically a relatively affordable procedure (compared to other surgical procedures).

The average cost of knee surgeries overall is $18,975 ranging from $5,700 to over $23,000. That being said your out-of-pocket cost depends primarily on your insurance. Out-of-pocket loose body knee surgery generally costs patients between $2000 and $3000 out-of-pocket.

However, this price can vary depending on things like the surgeon’s fees, the hospital charges, and your insurance plan.


Overall, loose body knee surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can help to relieve pain and improve mobility. The average cost of the surgery is $18,975, but your out-of-pocket costs will depend on your insurance plan.

Recovery time varies depending on the individual, but most people can expect to return to work within a few weeks. If you have any concerns or questions about loose-body knee surgery, be sure to talk to your doctor. They can provide you with guidance and support throughout the process.

Thank you for reading! We hope this article was informative and helpful. Loose-body knee surgery can be a life-changing procedure, and we wish you all the best on your journey to recovery.