Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows an orthopedic specialist to examine the knee joint without major incisions through the skin and other soft tissues. Arthroscopy is used to diagnose and treat a wide range of problems with the knee and other joints. During knee arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your knee joint. The camera displays the image on a video screen, and your surgeon uses those images to guide miniature surgical instruments.
Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions, i.e. "portals" about 1 cm in size, as opposed to the larger incision required for open surgery. This results in less pain for patients, less joint stiffness and often shortens the time needed for recovery and return to favorite activities.
The first step is a specialist examination, which you can order immediately.
- Patella - kneecap
- Tibia - shinbone (larger bone of the lower leg)
- Fibula - a smaller bone of the lower leg
- Collateral ligaments - firm, elastic connective tissue that surrounds the joint to ensure its stability
- Cruciate ligaments - the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in the knee form an X shape, they ensure rotational stability and prevent excessive displacement of the lower leg relative to the upper leg.
- Meniscus - curved cartilaginous parts in the joint that serve as shock absorbers that absorb the load, increase the contact of the joint surfaces, etc.
- Muscles - serve the dynamic stability of the joint
When is knee arthroscopy recommended?
Your doctor may recommend knee arthroscopy if you have a painful condition that does not respond to non-surgical treatment. Non-surgical treatment includes rest, physical therapy, and medications or injections that can reduce pain and inflammation.
Knee arthroscopy can alleviate the painful symptoms of many problems that damage the cartilage surfaces and other soft tissues that surround the joint.
Common arthroscopic procedures for the knee include:
- Removal or repair of a damaged meniscus
- Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
- Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
- Surgical treatment of articular cartilage damage
- Removal of free articular bodies
Don't delay the examination, make an appointment today!
Risks of surgery
The complication rate after knee arthroscopic surgery is very small. If complications occur, they are usually minor and are easily treated. Possible postoperative problems with knee arthroscopy include:
- Knee stiffness
- Accumulation of blood in the knee
What can you expect?
What can you do before seeing an orthopaedic surgeon?
- Make radiological images (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the painful knee)
- Prepare answers to questions from an orthopaedic surgeon that may include:
- List the symptoms, how long did they last, when did they start?
- How much does it hurt on a scale of 0 to 10 at rest and on the movement?
- Are there activities that increase pain? Does it hurt at night?
- Have you had any knee injuries so far?
- Do you take any medications or dietary supplements?
- Do you have any other medical conditions?
- Prepare questions for the orthopaedic surgeon
See our patient's experience at the following LINK.
PHOTO: The most common indication for arthroscopic knee surgery is pain that does not respond to non-surgical treatment.
Examination by the orthopaedic surgeon
In order to set the indication for arthroscopic knee surgery, an orthopedic specialist will use a clinical examination to determine the range of motion, the stability of your knee and the persistence of certain injuries, such as a meniscal tear, using specific clinical tests. The indication for surgery also requires radiological images (MRI) of the knee joint which could be done before coming to the examination so that a decision of possible surgery can be made and so that you can get rid of knee pain as soon as possible.
Examination by an anesthesiologist
After setting the indication and arranging the date of the operation it is necessary to make an examination by an anesthesiologist who will decide on the type of anesthesia.
Arriving at the hospital
Upon arrival at the hospital (on the day of the procedure) the patient is placed in a room and receives informed consent with all the relevant information related to the operation. After the signature, the patient is going to be prepared for the surgery. Each patient also receives antibiotic prophylaxis to prevent postoperative infections.
During the operation, the patient is under spinal or general anesthesia, which is decided by the anesthesiologist. Under general anesthesia, the patient is unconscious and wakes up after the surgery. Under spinal anesthesia, on the other hand, the patient is awake but does not feel pain below the waist. For knee arthroscopic surgery, spinal anesthesia is most commonly used so that the operator can communicate with the patient during surgery and point out problems found by arthroscopic examination of the knee.
To prevent infection at the site of surgery, the skin on the knee will be disinfected. After the sterile surgical covering, the orthopedic surgeon will make a few small incisions in your knee, which he will use as a "portal" for the introduction of arthroscopic instruments. A sterile solution will be used to fill and wash the knee joint, wich will help your surgeon to see the structures inside the knee clearly and in detail.
Your surgeon's first task is to examine the entire knee joint with an arthroscope and accurately diagnose your problem. If surgical treatment is required, your surgeon will insert tiny instruments through other small portals. The length of the operation depends on the type of injury or condition, or the type of operation being performed. Most arthroscopic surgeries take less than an hour. Upon completion of the operation, the incisions are closed with sutures and the knee is covered with bandages.
PHOTO: Many knee problems can be solved without extensive surgery and large incisions with the help of a camera and arthroscopic instruments.
While recovery from knee arthroscopy is faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery, after returning home it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. Rehabilitation procedures differ in different injuries, i.e., operations. In case of the necessary physical therapy after the procedure, it is advised to continue the rehabilitation in our physical therapy center. In order to ensure the fastest and highest quality recovery, it is important to follow the instructions on wound dressing, diet, physical activity, etc.
Control examinations, their frequency and additional postoperative radiological images will be indicated by your orthopaedic surgeon.
A timely examination is of great importance, so make an appointment as soon as possible and prevent further pro