Knee arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure performed using an arthroscope, a viewing instrument that helps your doctor to clearly view the knee joint, and diagnose or treat a knee problem. It is a relatively safe procedure, and a majority of the patients discharge from the hospital on the same day of surgery.
The knee joint is one of the most complex joints of the body. The lower end of the thighbone (femur) meets the upper end of the shinbone (tibia) at the knee joint. A small bone called the patella (kneecap) rests on a groove on the front side of the femoral end. A bone of the lower leg (fibula) forms a joint with the shinbone.
To allow smooth and painless motion of the knee joint, articular surfaces of these bones are covered with a shiny white slippery articular cartilage. Two C-shaped cartilaginous menisci are present in between the femoral end and the tibial end.
Menisci act as shock absorbers, providing a cushion to the joints. Menisci also play an important role in providing stability and load-bearing to the knee joint.
Bands of tissue, including the cruciate and collateral ligaments, keep the different bones of the knee joint together and provide stabilization to the joint. Surrounding muscles are connected to the knee bones by tendons. The bones work together with the muscles and tendons to provide mobility to the knee joint. The whole knee joint is covered by a ligamentous capsule, which further stabilizes the joint. This ligamentous capsule is also lined by a synovial membrane that secretes synovial fluid for lubrication.
The knee joint is vulnerable to a variety of injuries. The most common knee problems where knee arthroscopy may be recommended for diagnosis and treatment are:
Knee arthroscopy is performed under local, spinal or general anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will decide the best method for you depending on your age and health condition.
The repair procedure may include any of the following:
After the repair, the knee joint is carefully examined for bleeding or any other damage. The saline is then drained from the knee joint. Finally, the incisions are closed with sutures or steri-strips, and the knee is covered with a sterile dressing.
Most patients are discharged on the same day of the knee arthroscopy procedure. Recovery after the surgery depends on the type of repair procedure performed. Recovery from simple procedures is often fast. However, recovery from complicated procedures takes a little longer. Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than that from an open knee surgery.
Pain medicines are prescribed to keep you comfortable. Crutches or a knee brace may be recommended for several weeks. A rehabilitation program may also be advised for a successful recovery. Therapeutic exercises aim to restore motion and strengthen the muscles of the leg and knee.
Knee arthroscopy is a safe procedure; complications are very rare. Complications specific to knee arthroscopy include bleeding into the knee joint, infection, knee stiffness, blood clots or continuing knee problems.
Knee arthroscopy is a very useful technique for treating knee problems. It provides the surgeon with a clear view of the internal structures of the knee to diagnose and then treat the problem. Most patients are discharged on the same day of the surgery. Recovery is also much faster than an open approach. Knee arthroscopy is a relatively safe procedure that ensures a quick return to normal activities of daily living.