Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that is used to diagnose and treat conditions of the knee joint. This minimally invasive procedure involves making a small incision and inserting a thin instrument called an arthroscope through the incision. An arthroscope is a very thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at the end that allows the surgeon to view the inside of the knee joint. The surgeon can investigate the source of your symptoms and repair any damage found using small instruments.
Knee arthroscopy is an effective way to diagnose and treat knee pain and various conditions of the knee, such as meniscus tears and wear and tear on the cartilage. Arthroscopic knee surgery can provide pain relief and improve your mobility so that you can maintain an active lifestyle and get back to your normal activities.
The procedure requires only small incisions which allows for less scarring and pain, as well as a faster recovery after the surgery.
You will receive general anesthetic so you will be asleep during the procedure. The surgeon makes two small incisions and inserts the arthroscope to view the inside of the knee. Other small instruments are passed through an incision to repair damage. These instruments, though small, can be used to cut, repair tissue, and remove loose particles in the joint. Once finished, the incisions will each be closed using a stitch or two and then covered in dressing.
The procedure takes approximately one hour.
Along with being able to treat your knee pain and stiffness, knee arthroscopy can also diagnose and treat several knee conditions, including:
- Torn meniscus
- Dislocated patella
- Tear of the anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
- Baker’s cyst
- Synovium swelling
- Loose cartilage fragments
You will be given pre-operative preparation instructions to follow. These may include:
- Avoid certain medications and supplements. It is important to talk to the surgeon about any medications that you are on, including over-the-counter medicines and supplements. Many medications, like Tylenol and Ibuprofen, can increase the risk of bleeding during and after the surgery. Other medicines and supplements, like birth control, can increase your chance of blood clots.
- Consult with your physician. Aside from medications, your surgeon will also need to know if you are suffering from any illness before the procedure, such as diarrhea, the flu, a virus, etc.
- Do not eat or drink 6 to 12 hours prior to surgery. Depending on your surgery, your physician will inform you of the time you must refrain from eating or drinking. Usually, the time spans are between 6 and 12 hours.
- Arrange a ride home from the airport. You will be asked not to drive for a few days after your procedure, so it is advised to set up a ride home from the airport. At ARO, we take care of your transportation throughout your visit to our base surgical center, including your transport to and from the Tampa 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 your procedure 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 able to leave. An ice pack will be applied to your knee to help keep the swelling down. You can expect some pain, which can be managed with pain medication. The bandage usually stays in place for two days. After you can simply cover the incisions with band aids and keep dry. You might need to use crutches and keep weight off your knee. To help with swelling, you can elevate your leg.
Prior to your procedure, your ARO surgeon will work with your primary care physician and rehab facility in your area to create a post-op care plan. Once you are ready, you will work with a physical therapist to gradually regain strength and mobility in the knee. Recovery time can vary depending on the extent of your damage and how much was done during your arthroscopic knee surgery. Generally, patients are able to get back to work within a week or two and make a full recovery in a few short months.