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Discharge Instructions: Using a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) Machine

Your doctor prescribed a continuous passive motion (CPM) machine to use after surgery. The CPM machine is attached to a knee or other limb on which the surgery was performed. While you relax, the machine constantly moves the knee or other limb through a range of motions for a period of time. CPM is used to prevent joint stiffness, relieve pain, and regain normal motion. The CPM has supportive padding, a power supply, and a frame that adjusts to your body. Here’s what you need to know about home care.

Home Care:

  • Use the machine settings and make any adjustments as directed by your doctor.

  • Use your machine two to 10 hours a day, for two hours at a time (more or less as tolerated and directed by your doctor).

  • Call your doctor when you think you can stop using the machine completely. This is usually when your arm or leg can reach an extended (straight) position or when you can bend your arm or leg to the degree your doctor recommended.

  • Use pain medication as directed by your doctor.

  • Follow any special instructions given to you by your doctor. If you feel pain, stop the exercise. If the pain continues after stopping, call your doctor.


When to Seek Medical Attention

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

Otherwise, call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Increased pain in the affected limb

  • Pain that is not relieved by medication

  • Pain or swelling in the area near your surgery

  • Increased redness or any drainage around the incision

  • Numbness, tingling, or blue-gray color in your affected limb

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher, or shaking chills


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