Important Facts to Know about Knee Arthroscopy

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Knee arthroscopy refers to a surgical technique used to diagnose and treat issues in the knee joint. The procedure can be used to diagnose misaligned patella, torn meniscus, torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments, loose cartilage in the knee joint, swollen synovium, and knee joint fracture. It may also be used to repair knee joint ligaments and treat osteoarthritis.

Knee Arthroscopy

Procedure

Here are a few important things regarding the procedure:

  1. This procedure may be conducted while the patient is under local, regional or general anesthesia. 
  2. Inserting saline into the joint will expand the knee and give the doctor better visibility. 
  3. Knee arthroscopy involves making a very small incision through which the doctor will insert a tiny camera into the knee. This camera is known as an arthroscope. The view from the camera will be projected onto a screen. 
  4. If need be, the doctor may also insert certain minimally invasive surgery tools along with the camera and repair the issue. 
  5. After the procedure, the saline will be drained from the joint and the cuts will be stitched closed.

Preparing for a Knee Arthroscopy

You must inform your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medication or supplements you are taking before planning the procedure. The patient will also be advised to not eat or drink anything for 6 to 8 hours before the procedure. 

Advantages

Choosing to have a knee arthroscopy instead of a traditional open-knee surgery has a number of advantages. These include:

  1. Reduced tissue damage
  2. Quicker healing 
  3. Lesser pain 
  4. Reduced risk of infection
  5. Early recovery and better rehabilitation 

Risks

This is a minimally invasive procedure and has a lower risk of complications than a traditional open-knee surgery. However, certain risks associated with it are:

  1. Infection
  2. Allergic reaction to anesthesia or other medication
  3. Stiffness of the knee joint
  4. Damage to the ligaments, cartilage, blood vessels or nerves in the knee joint

Recovery After a Knee Arthroscopy

This is a minimally invasive procedure. In most cases, patients are usually sent home on the same day or hospitalized for 1 or 2 days, depending on the surgical procedure. Patients should arrange for a person to help them for at least a day after the procedure. 

There will be a certain amount of swelling and pain after the procedure. This can be relieved by analgesics and using an ice pack on the affected knee. The leg should be kept elevated to reduce pain and swelling. The dressing will also need to be changed from time to time. A follow-up appointment should be scheduled according to the doctor’s advice. 

The doctor will also suggest an exercise regimen for post-surgery recovery. Alternatively, the doctor may advise undergoing physical therapy until the knee recovers fully. These exercises can help strengthen the muscles and restore a full range of motion to the knee. As long as the patient follows the doctor’s advice, this procedure has an excellent outlook.

Dr. Deepak Kumar Arora
Dr. Deepak Kumar Arora is an Orthopaedic Director and Chief Surgeon at Esskay Orthopaedic Centre, and consultant at Max Superspeciality Hospital in Delhi. He has over 11 years of experience. His main areas of interest are trauma, joint replacement and keyhole surgery (arthroscopy). He completed his M.B.B.S. from S P Medical College, Bikaner and MS Orthopaedic from JLN Medical College, Ajmer.

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