What Is Knee Arthroscopy?
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.
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. Your
recovery time and prognosis will depend on the severity of the knee problem and
the complexity of the required procedure.
Why Do I Need Knee
doctor may recommend that you undergo a knee arthroscopy if you’re experiencing
knee pain. Your doctor might have already diagnosed the condition causing your
pain, or they may order the arthroscopy to help find a diagnosis. In either
case, an arthroscopy is a useful way for doctors to confirm the source of knee
pain and treat the problem.
surgery can diagnose and treat knee injuries, including:
- torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
- torn meniscus (the cartilage between the bones in the
- patella that’s out of position
- pieces of torn cartilage that are loose in the joint
- removal of a Baker’s cyst
- fractures in the knee bones
- swollen synovium (the lining in the joint)
How Do I Prepare for Knee
doctor or surgeon will advise you how to prepare for your surgery. Be sure to
tell them about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or supplements
that you’re currently taking. You may need to stop taking certain medicines,
such as aspirin or ibuprofen, for weeks or days before the procedure.
must also refrain from eating or drinking for six to 12 hours before the
surgery. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe you a pain medication for any
discomfort you experience after the surgery. You should fill this prescription
ahead of time so that you have it ready after the procedure.
What Happens During a Knee
doctor will give you an anesthetic before your knee arthroscopy. This may be:
- local (numbs your knee only)
- regional (numbs you from the waist down)
- general (puts you completely to sleep)
you’re awake, you may be able to watch the procedure on a monitor.
surgeon will begin by making a few small incisions, or cuts, in your knee.
Sterile salt water, or saline, will then pump in to expand your knee. This
makes it easier for the surgeon to see inside the joint. The arthroscope enters
one of the cuts and the surgeon will look around in your joint using the
attached camera. The surgeon can see the images produced by the camera on the
monitor in the operating room.
the surgeon locates the problem in your knee, they may then insert small tools
into the incisions to correct the issue. After the surgery, the surgeon drains
the saline from your joint and closes your cuts with stitches.
What Are the Risks Associated
with a Knee Arthroscopy?
are risks associated with any type of surgery, though they are rare. Every
surgery has the following risks:
- excessive bleeding during the procedure
- infection at the site of the surgery
- breathing difficulties caused by anesthesia
- allergic reaction to anesthesia or other medications
administered during surgery
are also risks specific to a knee arthroscopy, such as:
- bleeding inside the knee joint
- formation of a blood clot in the leg
- infection inside the joint
- stiffness in the knee
- injury or damage to the cartilage, ligaments, meniscus,
blood vessels, or nerves of the knee
What Is Recovery Like After
a Knee Arthroscopy?
surgery isn’t very invasive. For most people, the procedure takes only an hour
or two. 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.
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.
doctor will give you an exercise regimen to follow at home to help your knee
recover, or will recommend a physical therapist to see 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.