Knee arthroscopy allows an orthopedic surgeon to diagnose and treat knee disorders by providing a clear view of the knee's interior with small incisions, utilizing a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope. The scope contains optic fibers that transmit an image of your knee through a small camera to a television monitor. The TV image allows the surgeon to thoroughly examine the interior of your knee and determine the source of your problem. During the procedure, the surgeon also can insert surgical instruments through other small incisions in your knee to remove or repair damaged tissues.
Arthroscopy can be performed under local, regional, or general anaesthesia. The anaesthetist will help you determine which would be the best for you.
The orthopaedic surgeon will make a few small incisions in your knee. A sterile solution will be used to fill the knee joint and rinse away any cloudy fluid, providing a clear view of your knee.
The surgeon will then insert the arthroscope to properly diagnose your problem, using the TV image to guide the arthroscope. If surgical treatment is needed, the surgeon can use a variety of small surgical instruments (e.g., scissors, clamps, motorized shavers, or lasers) through another small incision. This part of the procedure usually lasts 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
Common treatments with knee arthroscopy include:
Removal or repair of torn meniscal cartilage.
Reconstruction of a torn cruciate ligament.
Trimming of torn pieces of articular cartilage.
Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage.
Removal of inflamed synovial tissue.
After the surgery, the surgeon may close your incisions with a suture or paper tape and cover them with a bandage.
You will be moved to the recovery room. Usually, you will be ready to go home in one or two hours. You should have someone with you to drive you home.
Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery. Still, it is important to follow your orthopaedic surgeon's instructions carefully after you return home. You should ask someone to check on you the first evening you are home.
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