Chondroplasty is a surgical procedure used to smooth damaged cartilage in the knee. The goal of the surgery is to lessen friction in the joint, allowing the knee to move freely and without pain. The knee joint is covered in articular cartilage, which is a smooth tissue that allows the joint to move without friction. Trauma and degenerative conditions can damage the cartilage and cause it to become rough. Studies have found that the majority of patients who undergo chondroplasty are satisfied with the results of the procedure.
Chondroplasty is done arthroscopically. This means that a thin instrument made up of a camera and light is inserted into the knee through a very small incision, allowing the surgeon to assess and remove the damage. Arthroscopy also allows the surgeon to look for and treat other damage in the knee at the same time.
This is a minimally invasive procedure that treats the pain associated with the breakdown of the articular cartilage in the knee. Arthroscopic chondroplasty allows the surgeon to visualize the knee and identify causes of your symptoms using just a small incision or two. If more than one issue is found, they can be repaired during the same procedure.
Recovery is fast and relief is felt almost immediately. There is little risk, scarring or pain involved with this procedure.
The surgeon will make small incisions around the knee, each measuring approximately half an inch. The arthroscope will be inserted, allowing the surgeon to see the inside of your knee joint on a monitor. A special instrument may be inserted to pump fluid into the joint to expand it for a better look.
Small surgical instruments are used to remove any loose fragments and shave down the damaged cartilage. Once finished, the added fluid will be drained and the incisions closed with a stitch each.
If the surgeon finds another abnormality in the knee, it may also be repaired during the procedure.
Chondroplasty treats damaged articular cartilage in the knee so that new healthy tissue is able to grow and allow the knee to move smoothly again. It is used to treat damage that is caused by:
- Trauma to the knee
- Degenerative conditions, such as arthritis
The procedure treats a variety of symptoms, including:
- Knee joint pain
- Stability issues
- Popping, locking or “giving” of the knee
You can prepare for the surgery by adhering to the following guidelines prior to your surgery.
- Avoid certain medications and supplements. You will need to speak to your surgeon about any medications that you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, and any dietary and natural supplements and remedies. Some medications and supplements can increase the risk of bleeding and may need to be stopped a week or two before your chondroplasty.
- Consult with your physician. If you are taking any drugs or might have an illness, you should discuss this with your physician prior to surgery.
- Do not eat or drink 6 to 12 hours prior to surgery. Your physician will inform you of the exact time span you will need to fast before your surgery.
- Arrange a ride home from the airport. We recommend setting up a ride from the airport when you return home the day after your procedure. At ARO, we take care of your transportation throughout your visit to our base surgical center, including your transport to and from the airport. Our goal is to minimize the amount of things you have to think about during your stay with us, making this process as easy for you as possible.
You will be given preparation instructions ahead of the chondroplasty by our skilled physicians and surgeons. Be sure to follow the instructions to avoid having to postpone your surgery to a later date.
You will be moved to a recovery room and monitored for a short time before being released the same day. Your knee will be bandaged and you will need to use crutches for a week or two or as long as advised by the doctor. At your follow-up appointment with your primary care physician, your incisions will be checked and your stitches removed. Your physical therapy will be set up prior to your surgery date to help you gradually regain your range of motion.