Knee Arthroscopy

May 17, 2018 Source: Internal - Gleb Danylov

What is it?

Knee arthroscopy is a surgery procedure in which a tiny camera is placed inside the knee joint in order to diagnose and treat knee pain. The arthroscopy camera provides the surgeon with vision to identify any reason for your discomfort including misaligned knee caps, torn menisci, and broken bones. There is also a surgical device placed in the camera, in order for the doctor to be able to perform any minor surgeries.

Preparing for the surgery

This would be like preparing for any common surgery. The doctor may ask you to not eat or drink for 6 to 12 hours before the surgery. Also, if taking any medication, you should let the doctor know beforehand. The doctor may prescribe pain pills for after the surgery which should be filled before the surgery in order to have it right after the procedure.

Procedure

Knee arthroscopy is a fairly quick treatment only taking 30 minutes to a maximum of 45 minutes. Usually, the patient is put to sleep using general anesthesia, but local anesthesia might also be used which will only numb the knee keeping the patient awake. The surgeon will generally make a couple small incisions around the knee to be able to properly observe the joint. Once the issue, is located the doctor may place another surgical tool to correct the obstruction. In most cases, stitches are not used, but instead steri-strips are placed over the cuts which last around a week and then peel off.

Risks

There are risks that come with any surgery, however if the surgery is performed correctly the complications should be minimal. Risks of knee arthroscopy include:

  • infection at the site of the surgery
  • formation of a blood clot in the leg
  • stiffness in the knee
  • injury or damage to blood vessels or nerves

However, if you experience increasing swelling and pain, high temperature fevers, or persistent drainage from the knee, a doctor should be notified immediately.

Recovery

Depending on the reason for your knee discomfort, recovery times can vary between patients. It takes up to six weeks for the knee joint to re-establish normal joint fluid, meaning it may take a month to notice improvement after the surgery. After which you should be able to return to regular activities and be able to play sports comfortably.