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Knee arthroscopy is surgery that is done by making small cuts on your knee and looking inside using a tiny camera. Other medical instruments may also be placed inside to fix your knee.
Knee scope - arthroscopic lateral retinacular release; Synovectomy - knee; Patellar (knee) debridement; Meniscus repair; Lateral release; Knee surgery
Three different types of pain relief (anesthesia) may be used for knee arthroscopy surgery:
A cuff-like device that blows up (inflates) may be used around your thigh to help control bleeding during knee arthroscopy.
The surgeon will make two or three small cuts around your knee. Salt water (saline) will be pumped into your knee to stretch the knee.
A narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end will be placed inside through one of the cuts. The camera is attached to a video monitor in the operating room. The surgeon looks at the monitor to see the inside of your knee. In some operating rooms, the patient can also watch the surgery on the monitor, if they want to.
The surgeon will look around your knee for problems. The surgeon may put other medical instruments inside your knee through the other small cuts. The surgeon will then fix or remove the problem in your knee.
At the end of your surgery, the saline will be drained from your knee. The surgeon will close your cuts with sutures (stitches) and cover them with a dressing. Many surgeons take pictures of the procedure from the video monitor so that afterward you can see what was done and what was found.
See also: ACL reconstruction
Arthroscopy may be recommended for these knee problems:
The risks for any anesthesia are:
The risks for any surgery are:
Additional risks for this surgery include:
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
After the surgery, you will have an ace bandage on your knee over the dressing. Most people go home the same day they have surgery. Your doctor will give you an exercise program to follow.
Whether or not you have a full recovery after knee arthroscopy depends on what type of problem was treated.
Problems such as a torn meniscus, broken cartilage, Baker's cyst, and problems with the synovium are usually fixed easily. Many patients remain active after these surgeries.
Recovery from simple procedures is usually fast. You may need to use crutches for a while so that you do not put weight on your knee and to control pain. This will depend on what kind of surgery you had. Your doctor may also prescribe pain medicine.
Recovering from more complicated procedures will take longer. When anything in your knee is repaired or rebuilt, you may not be able to walk without crutches or a knee brace for several weeks. Full recovery may take several months to a year.
If you also have arthritis in your knee, you will still have arthritis symptoms after surgery to repair other damage to your knee.
Phillips BB. Arthroscopy of the lower extremity. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 48.
Miller MD, Hart J. Surgical principles. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 2.