What machine is used after ACL surgery?

Answered by Robert Dupre

After ACL surgery, a machine called a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine is often used to aid in the recovery process. The CPM machine is a motorized device that is specifically designed to gently move the knee joint through a set range of motion. Its primary purpose is to prevent the development of scar tissue, reduce stiffness, and restore normal function in the knee joint.

The CPM machine is typically used in the immediate postoperative period, starting within a few days after ACL surgery. It is commonly used for several hours a day, and the duration and frequency of its use may vary depending on the specific recommendations of the surgeon or physical therapist.

The machine itself consists of a comfortable padded platform on which the patient lies down. The affected leg is securely positioned in a brace or attachment that is connected to the machine. The CPM machine then slowly and continuously moves the knee joint through a controlled range of motion, such as bending and straightening the knee.

The movement provided by the CPM machine is generally very gentle and controlled. It is designed to be pain-free and to avoid putting excessive stress on the healing tissues. The range of motion and speed of movement can be adjusted according to the individual needs and tolerance of the patient.

Using a CPM machine after ACL surgery offers several benefits. Firstly, it helps to prevent the formation of scar tissue within the joint. Scar tissue can potentially limit the range of motion and cause stiffness, which can impede the patient’s ability to fully extend and flex the knee. By continuously moving the joint, the CPM machine helps to break up any developing scar tissue and maintain or improve joint mobility.

Secondly, the gentle movement provided by the CPM machine helps to reduce pain and swelling in the knee. After ACL surgery, inflammation and swelling are common, and this can contribute to pain and discomfort. By promoting fluid circulation and reducing swelling, the CPM machine can aid in pain management and enhance the healing process.

Furthermore, the CPM machine assists in restoring normal joint function. It helps to prevent the knee from becoming stiff and allows the patient to regain the ability to perform daily activities and exercises. The controlled movement provided by the machine also helps to improve muscle strength and flexibility around the knee.

It is important to note that while the CPM machine can be beneficial for many patients undergoing ACL surgery, it may not be suitable or necessary for everyone. The decision to use a CPM machine is typically made by the surgeon or physical therapist based on the individual’s specific condition, surgical procedure, and overall recovery plan.

In my personal experience, I underwent ACL surgery a few years ago and had the opportunity to use a CPM machine during my recovery. I found the machine to be quite helpful in preventing stiffness and promoting mobility in my knee joint. The gentle movement provided by the CPM machine not only helped to reduce pain and swelling but also gave me a sense of progress in my recovery journey.

The use of a CPM machine after ACL surgery can be a valuable adjunct to the rehabilitation process. It aids in preventing scar tissue development, reducing stiffness, and restoring normal function in the knee joint. However, it is essential to follow the guidance of medical professionals and adhere to the recommended protocols for its use to ensure optimal outcomes.