During the knee arthroscopy, the surgeon makes 2-3 tiny incisions to insert the pencil-sized scope. This scope contains a small lens and lighting system to magnify and illuminate the structures inside the joint. When the arthroscope is attached to a miniature video camera, the surgeon can see and examine inside the joint. This allows surgeons to examine bones, cartilage, and ligaments to repair injured areas.
Is arthroscopy necessary?
Diagnosing a joint injury always begins with a physical examination, and radiographic studies (x-rays, MRI, CT scan, etc.). The arthrosocope allows the surgeon to make a final diagnosis. In short, arthroscopic surgery is less invasive than traditional “open” knee surgery and is more accurate than x-ray studies, or MRI alone.
Some of the more common injuries that require knee arthroscopy include:
- Torn meniscus (knee cartilage)
- Discoid lateral meniscus (abnormally formed meniscus)
- Fractures in or near knee joint
- Repair of torn ligaments
- Persistent knee pain
- Removal of inflamed knee lining (synovium)
How is arthroscopy performed?
Arthroscopic surgery is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital operating room or surgical suite. A small incision (about the size of a buttonhole) is made to insert the arthroscope into the knee joint. Additional buttonhole incisions are usually necessary to examine other areas or to insert additional instruments.
What happens after knee arthroscopy?
After surgery, the incisions are covered with bandages and a knee immobilizer. The patient is transferred from the operating room into the recovery room. While some pain is common, some patients require little or no pain medication. Novacaine is often injected into the knee at the time of surgery to help with pain relief after surgery. The Novocaine will last for approximately six to eight hours after surgery. Pain medication should be used as needed and directed by your doctor for the first few days after surgery. After the Novocaine wears off, it is common to have some minor discomfort in the knee. The pain may be controlled with Ibuprofen (Motrin) and/or Tylenol with Codeine (tablets or liquid).
You will be discharged once you display signs of hunger and thirst and demonstrate that your pain is manageable. A prescription for pain medication will be provided and should be filled prior to leaving the hospital.
To learn more or to book your arthroscopic knee surgery, please call or email the Contact Center today.