Knee Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery
December 27, 2021
Get Back on Your Feet Faster with Knee Arthroscopy
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive option for diagnosing and treating issues within the knee joint. Learn more about the procedure here.
What is arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy refers to a minimally invasive surgical procedure often performed by orthopedic surgeons. In an arthroscopic procedure, a tiny camera is used to provide a view of the inside of the joint. This helps the surgeon diagnose and treat issues that occur within the joint.
What are the benefits of arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy requires much smaller incisions than an open surgery, which means there is less trauma to the surgical area. This typically results in reduced pain and bleeding, lower risks of infection, and quicker healing times.
If you are experiencing knee pain due to arthritis, injury, or another type of damage, knee arthroscopy could be a solution that gets you back on your feet faster.
Which knee procedures can be done with arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy can be used in a wide variety of knee joint problems, including:
- Ligament trimming and repair
- Repair of minor meniscus tears
- Removal of damaged cartilage
- Removal of plica (a fold in the lining of your knee joint)
Arthroscopy is also sometimes used as a diagnostic tool when a complex knee issue is unable to be verified via x-ray or other imaging techniques. To learn more about diagnostic knee arthroscopy, click here and select Diagnostic Arthroscopy.
What happens during a knee arthroscopy procedure?
Before your knee arthroscopy procedure, you will be given anesthesia. The type of anesthesia used will depend on your diagnosis, the specific procedure required, and the advice of your physician. Your knee will also be placed in a traction device to keep the joint still and provide your surgeon the optimal angle required for your procedure.
Next, small cuts are made in your knee. The number and location of the cuts will vary based on the procedure and your specific anatomy. Most knee arthroscopy procedures need just two to three small incisions.
Your surgeon will flush a saline solution into the area to gently expand the knee joint. An arthroscope—a small tube with an attached camera—is then inserted into your knee. The camera transmits an image onto a monitor that your surgeon uses to navigate inside the joint. At this point, your surgeon will likely explore the area to confirm your diagnosis and/or look for more damage.
If your surgeon determines that any damage or issue can be repaired arthroscopically, small tools will be inserted through the arthroscope so that the problem can be fixed in the same procedure. When the arthroscopy is complete, all tools will be removed, the saline will be drained, and the surgeon will close the incisions.
How long does it take to recover from knee arthroscopy?
In most cases, knee arthroscopy procedures take under an hour to perform, so you will be able to go home the same day. Because arthroscopy is minimally invasive, the recovery period is shorter and less rigorous than that involved with open knee surgery.
Your recovery time will depend on factors such as your procedure, your adherence to your surgeon’s instructions, and your overall health. If your job is mostly sedentary (such as working at a desk or in an office), you will likely be able to return to work in under a week. More active jobs will require longer downtime. Full healing from an arthroscopic knee procedure typically takes about six weeks.
Your surgeon will provide a guide on how to care for the incisions as well as some exercises you can do to promote healing and prevent stiffness. Finally, a followup appointment will be scheduled so your surgeon can check your healing progress.
Where can I get a knee arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy is one of the many joint care procedures our skilled orthopedic surgeons perform at Arkansas Surgical Hospital. For help scheduling an appointment, contact us here or call our Referral Help Line at (800) 901-0307.