What is Knee Arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure designed to diagnose and treat various knee conditions. During this procedure, a small camera called an arthroscope is inserted into the knee joint through tiny incisions, allowing the surgeon to visualise the internal structures of the knee on a video monitor. This real-time imaging guides the surgeon in using specialised miniature surgical instruments to address issues such as torn meniscus, damaged ligaments, inflamed synovial tissue, cartilage problems, loose fragments, patella misalignment, infections, and more. Knee arthroscopy offers the advantage of smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, quicker recovery times, and improved patient outcomes compared to traditional open surgery.
When To Go For Surgery?
The decision to undergo knee arthroscopy surgery is typically based on several factors and should be determined in consultation with a medical professional. Surgery may be recommended when:
-Surgery may be considered if nonsurgical treatments such as rest, physical therapy, medications, or injections do not provide adequate relief from knee pain and symptoms.
-Knee arthroscopy can be a diagnostic tool to identify the cause of unexplained knee pain or discomfort when imaging tests are inconclusive.
-When the meniscus ( cushion ) in the knee is torn, surgery may be necessary to repair or remove the damaged tissue.
-Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) may require surgical reconstruction to restore knee stability.
-When the lining of the joint (synovium) becomes inflamed and conservative treatments are ineffective, arthroscopy may be used to remove the inflamed tissue.
-If articular cartilage in the knee is damaged or worn, arthroscopic techniques can be employed for trimming or repairing the cartilage.
-The presence of loose bone or cartilage fragments within the joint, often caused by conditions like synovial chondromatosis, may necessitate their removal through arthroscopy.
-Surgical intervention may be indicated for addressing patella-related problems, such as realigning or smoothing the kneecap.
During knee arthroscopy, the patient is typically placed under anaesthesia, which can vary from local or regional to general anaesthesia. The surgeon makes small incisions around the knee and pumps a saline solution into the joint to create space and improve visibility. A specialised instrument called an arthroscope, equipped with a camera, is inserted through one of the incisions, allowing the surgeon to examine the inside of the knee on a monitor. Additional small incisions may be made to introduce miniature surgical instruments for repairing or removing damaged tissue.
Minimally invasive procedures like arthroscopic surgery are generally associated with reduced discomfort and faster recovery times. However, it's essential to acknowledge that arthroscopy is a significant surgical intervention that carries some risks and requires thorough postoperative rehabilitation.
-After your surgery, it's crucial to avoid weight-bearing activities and keep your knee immobile during the initial healing phase. You may need the assistance of crutches or a walker to move around safely.
-Elevating your leg while resting is advisable to minimise swelling and alleviate any postoperative discomfort.
-Following a structured physiotherapy program is essential for ensuring a smooth and successful recovery, ultimately enabling you to regain full mobility and functionality in your knee.
1. What is knee arthroscopy, and when is it recommended?
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to diagnose and treat various knee conditions. It's recommended when conservative treatments like rest, physical therapy, or medication fail to provide relief from knee pain or when there's a need for a precise diagnosis of unexplained knee symptoms.
2. What are the common knee issues treated with arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy can address a range of knee problems, including torn meniscus, ligament injuries like ACL or PCL tears, inflammation of the synovium, cartilage damage, loose fragments in the joint, and patella-related issues.
3. What can I expect during the recovery period after knee arthroscopy?
Recovery from knee arthroscopy involves rest, keeping weight off the knee, and possibly using crutches or a walker. Elevating the leg to reduce swelling is crucial. Patients are typically advised to follow a physiotherapy program to regain full mobility and function gradually.
4. How long does knee arthroscopy surgery typically take?
The duration of knee arthroscopy can vary depending on the complexity of the issue being addressed. On average, the procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour. However, your orthopaedic surgeon will provide you with a more accurate estimate based on your specific case and number of ligament repaired or reconstructed .
5. Is knee arthroscopy an outpatient procedure?
Yes, knee arthroscopy is often performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can typically go home on the same day as your surgery. However, the exact discharge plan may vary based on your surgeon's recommendation and your overall health.