Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive technique that provides valuable information about the inside of your knee joint without the need for a large incision. Arthroscopy is a surgical technique that allows us to diagnose and treat problems in your knee joint through a small incision. This technique uses an arthroscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera lens.
Knee arthroscopy is a surgical technique that can diagnose and treat problems in the knee joint. During the procedure, your surgeon will make a very small incision and insert a tiny camera — called an arthroscope — into your knee. This allows them to view the inside of the joint on a screen. The surgeon can then investigate a problem with the knee and, if necessary, correct the issue using small instruments within the arthroscope. Arthroscopy diagnoses several knee problems, such as a torn meniscus or a misaligned patella (kneecap). It can also repair the ligaments of the joint. There are limited risks to the procedure and the outlook is good for most patients.
During knee arthroscopy, we insert the arthroscope into a buttonhole-sized incision around your knee. The arthroscope magnifies and projects images of the inside of your knee onto a monitor. This provides us with a clear view of tissues and structures that may not be visible with a noninvasive imaging test like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
As the largest joints in your body, your knees are prone to many painful injuries and conditions. Our orthopedics surgeon may recommend knee arthroscopy if you have knee pain that doesn’t improve with nonsurgical treatments, like physical therapy and medications. Knee arthroscopy is less invasive than open forms of surgery. A surgeon can diagnose issues and operate using a very small tool, an arthroscope, which they pass through an incision in the skin. Knee arthroscopy is useful in diagnosing and treating a variety of conditions, including:
If we discover damaged or torn tissue during knee arthroscopy, he may use specialized surgical tools to repair the problem during the same procedure.
Many doctors will recommend a tailored preparation plan, which may include gentle exercises. It is important for a person taking any prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications to discuss them with the doctor. An individual may need to stop taking some medications ahead of the surgery. This may even include common OTC medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil). A person may need to stop eating up to 12 hours before the procedure, especially if they will be in general anesthesia. A doctor should provide plenty of information about what a person is allowed to eat or drink. Some doctors prescribe pain medication in advance. A person should fill this prescription before the surgery so that they will be prepared for recovery.
First, we will carefully review your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam to make sure knee arthroscopy is right for you. They also discuss the best type of anesthesia for your procedure: local, regional, or general. During knee arthroscopy, we make a small incision in your knee and insert the arthroscope. We fill your knee joint with a saltwater solution so we can see the structures more clearly. Once we pinpoint the area of tissue damage, we make 1-4 new incisions, just as small as the first, to insert miniature surgical instruments. When he’s finished treating your knee, we remove all instruments, drain the fluid from your knee, and close the incisions. Because knee arthroscopy is minimally invasive, you experience less bleeding, scarring, and pain than you would with open surgery. You should be able to go home the same day. If you don’t have a chronic condition, like arthritis, you should expect a full recovery within 4-6 weeks.
Like any surgery, knee arthroscopy poses some risks, though serious complications are uncommon. A person has an increased risk of infection and excessive bleeding during and after the surgery. The use of anesthesia also comes with risks. In some people, it may cause allergic reactions or breathing difficulties. Some risks are specific to knee arthroscopy. They include:
These risks are uncommon, and most people recover without incident.
Before and after knee arthroscopy surgery, exercises can help. Working with a physical therapist to strengthen the muscles around the knee may help the knee to fully recover. Doctors may also teach a person some simple stretches and exercises to do at home. Exercises are a crucial part of treatment. They are needed to restore the knee’s full strength and range of motion. The choice of exercises will depend on the extent of the problem and a person’s overall condition. It is essential to speak with a doctor or physical therapist before trying exercises at home.
This surgery isn’t very invasive. For most people, the procedure takes less than an hour depending on the specific procedure. You will likely go home on the same day for recovery. You should use an ice pack on your knee and a dressing. The ice will help reduce swelling and minimize your pain.
At home, you should have someone look after you, at least for the first day. Try to keep your leg elevated and put ice on it for a day or two to reduce swelling and pain. You’ll also need to change your dressing. Your doctor or surgeon will tell you when to do these things and for how long. You will probably need to see your surgeon for a follow-up appointment a few days after the procedure. Your doctor will give you an exercise regimen to follow at home to help your knee recover or will recommend a physical therapist to see you until you’re able to use your knee normally. The exercises are necessary to help restore your full range of motion and to strengthen your muscles. With the proper care, your outlook after having this procedure is excellent.
The outlook following knee arthroscopy varies from person to person. The severity and type of knee problem can influence the outcome of surgery. A person’s commitment and ability to support their recovery can also play a role in the outcome. Many regain full use of their knees after arthroscopy if they follow their doctors’ recovery plans, which include doing exercises and practicing self-care.