Knee Arthroscopy

Sports,   work   injuries,   arthritis,   or   weakening   of   the   tissues   with   age   can   cause   wear   and inflammation, resulting in pain and diminished knee function.

Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat many of these problems.  By providing a clear picture of  the  knee,  arthroscopy  can  also  help  the  orthopaedic  surgeon  decide  whether  other  types  of reconstructive surgery would be beneficial.

Knee Arthroscopy

Almost all arthroscopic knee surgery is done on an outpatient basis for healthy patients. Usually, you will  be  asked  to  arrive  at  the  hospital  an  hour  or  two  prior  to  your  surgery.  Do  not  eat  or  drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.

Arthroscopy can be performed under local, regional, or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia numbs your knee, regional anesthesia numbs you below your waist, and general anesthesia puts you to sleep. The anesthesiologist will help you determine which would be the best for you.

The orthopaedic surgeon will make a few small incisions in your knee. The surgeon will then insert the arthroscope to properly diagnose your problem, using the image projected on a monitor to guide the  arthroscope.  If  surgical  treatment  is  needed,  the  surgeon  can  use  a  variety  of  small  surgical instruments through another small incision. The procedure usually lasts 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.

At the conclusion of your surgery, the surgeon may close your incisions with a suture or paper tape and cover them with a bandage.

You will be moved to the recovery room. Usually, you will be ready to go home in one or two hours. You should have someone with you to drive you home.

Potential  postoperative  problems  with  knee  arthroscopy  include  infection,  blood  clots,  and  an accumulation  of  blood  in  the  knee.  These  occur  infrequently  and  are  minor  and  treatable.  Other temporal  squeals  may  include  swelling,  limited  ability  to  walk  and  do  sports,  and  diminished sensation in the knee region.

Warning Signs

Call immediately if you experience any of the following:

1   Fever

2   Chills

3   Persistent warmth or redness around the knee

4   Persistent or increased pain

5   Significant swelling in your knee

6   Increasing pain in your calf muscle

Reasonable Expectations After Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Although arthroscopy can be used to treat many problems, you may have some activity limitations even after recovery. The outcome of your surgery will often be determined by the degree of injury or damage found in your knee. For example, if you  damage your knee from jogging and  the smooth articular  cushion  of  the  weightbearing  portion  of  the  knee  has  worrn  away  completely,  then  full recovery may not be possible. You may be advised to find a low-impact alternative form of exercise.

Physical  exercise  and  rehabilitation  will  play  an  important  role  in  your  final  outcome.  A  formal physical therapy program also may add something to your final result.

It is reasonable to expect that by six to eight weeks you should be able to engage in most of your former physical activities.

A return to intense physical activity should only be done under the direction of your surgeon.