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.
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.
Call immediately if you experience any of the following:
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.