Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows surgeons to see and treat issues inside a joint. Knee arthroscopy is a common surgical technique for patients with a wide range of knee problems that need surgical diagnosis and treatment.
Knee arthroscopy can be performed to diagnose knee pain, stiffness, and movement problems, or to treat a previously diagnosed problem. Arthroscopy is common for patients who have a torn meniscus or a displaced patella.
Torn ligaments and small knee bone fractures can often be repaired through knee arthroscopy. Baker's cysts can often be removed with arthroscopic surgery as well.
Arthroscopy is preferable to open surgery because patients heal faster with less pain and have a lower risk of infection and less tissue damage.
You may have local or general anesthesia before your knee arthroscopy, depending on what your surgeon is planning to do inside your knee joint. If you get local anesthesia, you might be able to watch the process inside your joint on a monitor if you choose.
Your surgeon will make several small incisions in your knee, for the camera and surgical tools. They will pump saline into your knee to expand it and make it easier to see inside the joint as they work inside it. After the procedure is complete, your surgeon will drain the saline fluid out of your knee and close the incisions with stitches.
Knee arthroscopy is very minimally invasive, so the recovery process is much quicker and easier than traditional open knee surgery. Most people are able to go home the day of surgery, though you'll need someone to drive you home and help you move around for at least the first day or two.
Keeping the leg elevated and applying ice packs to the knee help to reduce swelling and pain for the first few days after the procedure. Your doctor will give you instructions on exercises to perform to strengthen your knee and increase your joint's range of motion. You may go to physical therapy for several weeks after surgery.
Most knee arthroscopy patients are able to return to light activities one to three weeks after surgery. Most other physical activities can be resumed six to eight weeks post arthroscopy.
Serious complications from knee arthroscopy are very rare. Since the surgery is performed under general anesthesia, the risk of an allergic reaction to the anesthesia medication is present, as in other surgeries.
Uncommon risks and complications following a knee surgery include blood clots, infection, bleeding in the joint, and persistent stiffness in the knee. Follow your surgeon's instructions exactly to minimize your risk of complications.
For more information about arthroscopic surgery, contact a local clinic, like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.