Knee Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure performed to examine the knee joint and perform surgery with the help of a small fiber-optic video camera called an arthroscope. The Knee Arthroscopy procedure avoids making large cuts on the knee to go through with a surgical procedure. The arthroscope allows visualization of the inside of the joint on a video monitor screen which aids in the passage of small surgical instruments into the knee to correct the knee deformity. Knee Arthroscopy is more beneficial than open knee surgery as it results in less pain, less joint stiffness, and shorter recovery time.
Knee Arthroscopy is done as an elective procedure.
Knee Arthroscopy is indicated to diagnose knee joint deformity and ailments. A Knee Arthroscopy may be advised to diagnose the cause of knee pain for individuals suffering from the condition. Knee Arthroscopy is also used to treat other knee joint ailments.
Knee Arthroscopy can treat and diagnose the following conditions:
Conditions at which a Knee Arthroscopy is not performed include:
Investigations that are done before a knee arthroscopic procedure include:
Preoperatively before undergoing a knee arthroscopic surgery:
Duration: Knee Arthroscopy takes 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
Anesthesia: General anesthesia is administrated for Knee Arthroscopy. In some cases, spinal anesthesia is also used.
After administration of anesthesia either general or spinal, the surgical area is prepped and draped in a sterile manner. Three to four small incisions are made around the knee to allow surgical instruments to be introduced into the knee. A fiber-optic camera is also introduced into the knee. Sterile saline water is used to flush the knee joint. The knee joint is then filled with sterile saline water. This provides the surgeon with a clear view of the structures inside the knee during the surgery. An arthroscope which has an attached camera at its end is inserted into the knee through one of the incision. This helps to visualize the knee joint.
The torn parts of the meniscus and damaged parts of cartilage are identified. Special arthroscopic instruments are passed through other incisions into the knee to dissect the torn meniscus or damaged parts of the cartilage carefully. After the procedure, the saline water is drained from the knee. The knee is lined with stable tissues, smoothing the rough edges. The incisions are closed with Steri-strips and sometimes they are left to heal on their own. Some absorbable stitches are also used. If nylon stitches are used, they are generally removed 10 to 14 days after the surgery. Dry sterile gauze pads and an Ace wrap are used over the incision to protect the surgical site. After the incision is dry and healed, the bandage is removed.
Postoperatively after performing Knee Arthroscopy:
It can take up to six weeks for a knee to be re-established as a normal joint after the surgery. The recovery pace is different for each individual and some may recover within 2 weeks and could resume normal activities while others may need four to six weeks to heal completely and to resume full activities. The benefits of Knee Arthroscopy surgery do not usually appear immediately after the surgery but can take almost 6 weeks to be realized. After the surgery, individuals are advised to use crutches or a walker for a few days to reduce pain and weight-bearing on the knee and the use of these is gradually done away with. A limp may be noticed initially but it gradually improves.
Nonsurgical treatment of knee pain includes rest, medications, and injections to reduce pain, and physical therapy. Other lifestyle changes after Knee Arthroscopy surgery are as described below:
Complications that are associated with Knee Arthroscopy include:
The overall prognosis of knee arthroscopic procedures depends upon the severity of the condition and the complexity of the required procedure. Most individuals resume normal activities within 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery. However, higher impact activities may need to be avoided for a longer period. Pain and swelling improved within a couple of weeks after the surgery, nevertheless, knee strength, motion, and coordination may take 3 to 4 months to be restored completely. In a few cases, if the knee damage is very severe, it may not be completely reversed even with surgery.
Knee Arthroscopy can be performed on an outpatient basis without hospitalization; however, in some cases, brief hospitalization is required.