Arthroscopy is a new surgical approach that has revolutionized how various kinds of orthopaedic surgeries are performed. Today this minimally invasive surgical intervention, in which a joint (arthro) is observed (scopy) using a small camera with light, is used by worldwide knee surgeons to diagnose and treat knee injuries.
Today, knee arthroscopy is the frequently used procedure for knee surgery, with more than 4 million worldwide knee patients undergoing this procedure each year, as per statistics suggested by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
What is knee arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy is a minor surgical procedure that is performed through small incisions. To perform this operation, an orthopaedic surgeon
inserts the arthroscope (a fibre-optic telescope about the size of a pencil) into the knee joint through a small incision on the outer side of the knee. A high resolution camera and light are attached to this intricate instrument, enabling the surgeon
to a get a clear view of insides of your knee joint.
Through another small incision on the inner side of the knee, other surgical instruments such as small shavers, scissors and tiny gadgets are inserted to repair or remove damaged tissue. The orthopaedic surgeons can view the clear structures of the knee and in great detail on a high definition television monitor, which helps them to diagnose the exact problem and determine the future course of action.
Arthroscopic surgery is often done on an outpatient basis under local, regional, or general anaesthesia
. Your incision will be closed either with a stitch or small band-aids (steri-strips) and a soft bandage will be wrapped around the operated knee.
When you need knee arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy is indicated to evaluate and treat a number of conditions:
- Meniscus (torn floating cartilage) repair
- Meniscus removal
- Torn surface (articular) cartilage
- Reconstruction of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament
- Knee-cap disorders
- Washout of diseased knees
- Knee pain diagnosis
While the knee joint is the most commonly diagnosed and operated using the arthroscopy approach, other body joints such as the shoulder
, elbow, hip
can also be treated using arthroscopy.
Benefits of knee arthroscopy
Arthroscopy can effectively diagnose your joint condition and enables your doctor to determine the appropriate treatment for knee problems such as ACL rupture and patella (knee-cap) disorder and meniscus tears. Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than that of traditional open knee surgery
. An arthroscopy can provide significant relief from pain and improve your knee mobility. It also allows you to maintain a normal and active lifestyle with greater comfort.
Risks and complications associated with knee arthroscopy
Though arthroscopic knee surgery is considered a low-risk surgical procedure
, there are possible risks and complications associated with it, most of which occur infrequently and are extremely small and treatable. Potential postoperative problems include:
Notify your orthopaedic surgeon immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Elevated fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Persistent warmth or redness around the knee
- Pus-like drainage from the incisions
- Persistent or increased pain
- Significant swelling in your calf, foot or ankle
- Increasing pain in your calf muscle that is unrelieved by rest
Recovery from a knee arthroscopy
Recovery from knee arthroscopy largely depends on the degree of damage to your knee and the nature of the surgery performed to treat it as well as the patient's health condition. Patients often return to their normal activities after 6 to 8 weeks. Performing higher impact activities may take a little longer. For a quicker and safer knee surgery recovery
, you must follow the instructions and tips given by your doctor on knee surgery recovery.