Knee Arthroscopy

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Knee arthroscopy is a surgical technique that can diagnose and treat problems in the knee joint. During the procedure, your surgeon will make a very small incision and insert a tiny camera. … Read More

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Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy surgery is a surgical technique used in the diagnosis and treatment of problems relating to the knee joint. It is less invasive. During a knee arthroscopy procedure, a surgeon will make a very small incision in the knee and insert a tiny camera machine known as an arthroscope. This creates access to view the inside of the joint on a screen. With this, the surgeon is able to investigate the problem with the knee and, if required, correct the problems with small instruments within the arthroscope. Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose several knee problems, for instance, a torn meniscus or a misaligned kneecap. Knee arthroscopy surgery can also be used for treatment, such as repair the ligaments of the joint. The risks associated with knee arthroscopy surgery and the outlook, in general, is good for most patients. Recovery time and prognosis, however, depend on the severity of the knee problem and the complexity of the required procedure.

Reasons for knee arthroscopy surgery

Knee arthroscopy surgery can be used to diagnose a wide range of knee problems, including:
  • Persistent joint pain and stiffness.
  • Damaged cartilage.
  • A floating fragments of bone or cartilage.
  • A build-up of fluid, which are drained.
  • A torn posterior or anterior cruciate ligaments.
  • A torn meniscus (that is, the cartilage between the bones in the knee).
  • A swollen synovium (that is, the lining in the joint). 
It may also be used in 
  • The removal of a Baker’s cyst.
  • The treatment of knee sepsis (knee infection). 
  • The realignment patella that got out of position.

Preparation for a knee arthroscopy procedure

Lots of doctors usually recommend a personalized preparation plan, which is likely to include mild exercises. It is imperative that a person on any prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) meds (such as ibuprofen or aspirin) discusses them with the doctor, as there may be need to stop taking these medications ahead of the surgery.  There may also be a need to stop eating for up to 12 hours before the knee arthroscopy procedure, especially if general anesthesia will be given. Sufficient information about food or drink will however be provided by the doctor. Pain medication may also be prescribed in advance. A person will have to fill out this prescription before the commencement of the surgery so that they will be prepared for recovery.

Knee arthroscopy procedure

The knee arthroscopy procedure begins with the injection of anesthesia. The anesthesia may be; local (which numbs only the knee), regional (which numbs from the waist down) or general (which puts you completely to sleep). If awake, you can watch the procedure on a monitor. The surgeon then proceeds to make a few small incisions in the knee, through which saline is pumped into the knee for expansion. This enables the surgeon to clearly see the inside of the joint. Through one of the cuts made the surgeon inserts the arthroscope and with its aid looks around the joint. The images produced by the camera are viewed and examined on a monitor in the operating room. Upon locating the problem in the knee, small tools are then inserted through the incisions to correct the problem. After completion of the surgery, the saline pumped into the joint is drained out and the incisions are closed with stitches. In most cases, the whole of a knee arthroscopy procedure takes less than 1 hour.

Knee arthroscopy recovery

After a knee arthroscopy surgery, patients are moved to a recovery room but should be able to go home within 1 or 2 hours. It is best advised to have someone drive you home and check up on you, at least that first evening. Knee arthroscopy recovery is faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery. However, for prompt knee arthroscopy recovery, it is imperative to follow all doctor’s instructions carefully upon returning home. While knee arthroscopy recovery times varies. Return to light activities may take 1 to 3 weeks, while the resumption of other physical activities may take 6 to 8 weeks. General knee arthroscopy recovery tips include:
  • Apply ice packs to the dressing and surrounding areas to ease swelling and pain.
  • Keep the affected leg elevated for several days.
  • Rest well and a lot.
  • Change the dressing regularly.
  • Use crutches and strictly follow the doctor’s recommendations on applying weight to the knee.


• bleeding inside the knee joint.
• formation of a blood clot in the leg.
• infection inside the joint.
• stiffness in the knee.
• injury or damage to the cartilage, ligaments, meniscus, blood vessels, or nerves of the knee.


• Rubbery c-shaped pieces of cartilage, called minisci, cushion your knee joint and help it move smoothly.
• Injuries or arthritis can cause this cartilage to tear, which causes knee pain, swelling, and can lessen your ability to move


What are knee arthroscopy complications?

While a knee arthroscopy complication is very low, they are very uncommon. 

Some of the risks specific to knee arthroscopy include:

  • Chronic stiffness of the knee.
  • Accidental damage of tissues and nerves.
  • Infection of the knee.
  • Bleeding.
  • Blood clots.

What is the outlook of a knee arthroscopy procedure?

The outlook of a knee arthroscopy surgery varies from person to person. The type of knee problem and the severity can also influence the outcome of a knee arthroscopy surgery.

Also, a person’s commitment and ability to support their recovery plan also play a key role in the outcome.

Many people regain complete use of their knees after an arthroscopy if they strictly follow their doctors’ designed recovery plans.

What are the benefits of a knee arthroscopy surgery?

  • There’s less tissue damage.
  • Quicker healing time.
  • Fewer stitches involved.
  • A lesser amount of pain after the procedure.
  • Lower risk of infection.

Can knee arthroscopy be done by anyone?

A knee arthroscopy procedure may not be for everyone. There is not much evidence that those with degenerative diseases or osteoarthritis can profit from knee arthroscopy.