The information provided in this website is aimed to provide a general overview of knee arthroscopy. By no means does the information presented here offer a fully comprehensive review of the topics. Any questions should be discussed with your surgeon. There are significant variations of knee arthroscopy techniques from surgeon to surgeon.
Arthroscopy is an orthopedic surgical procedure whereby the surgeon can evaluate and treat the knee joint with the use of a camera (scope) inserted into a joint. Arthroscopy is performed with the use of a camera and minimally invasive instruments. The first documented arthroscopy dates back to a century ago during the 1910’s when it was used as a diagnostic tool to evaluate the joint. Several years later, arthroscopy become useful in the treatment of joint pathology such as meniscus tears of the knee joint. Currently, arthroscopy is a mainstay procedure for shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle and foot disorders.
There are several benefits of arthroscopic surgery. The arthroscope is inserted through small 1-2 cm incisions, or portals, that split the capsule and muscle fibers. When the camera is removed, the capsule and muscle fibers return to their normal position and alignment. The potential benefit over open knee surgery is 1) less surgical injury, 2) less surgical pain, 3) faster recovery time, 4) better visualization of the injured structures and therefore more anatomically correct repairs. Another benefit of arthroscopy is that patients can often go home within a few hours after the procedure. All of these potentially lead to improved overall satisfaction for the patients as well.
Knee arthroscopy is one of the most common procedures performed yearly in the United States. New techniques and surgical indications are being created every year. Some of the most common reasons for performing this procedure are as follows:
- Removal of meniscus tears (meniscectomy)
- Meniscus repair surgery
- Meniscus transplantation surgery
- Repair of damaged articular cartilage (microfracture, chondroplasty, cartilage transplantation)
- Torn anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL tear)
- To explore unexplained knee pain (diagnostic arthroscopy)
- Removal of synovitis or joint inflammation
- Removal of loose bodies
Management of joint infection
- Is this a pain I can live with, or am I going to harm myself further if I don't get it fixed?
- Is the procedure necessary, or is it advisable?
- Are there other alternatives to surgery?
- How much will it improve me - a little or a lot? Ask for a percentage.
- Can it wait. What will happen if I wait?
- What is the recovery time?
- How long will I be off work? How long will I be off sports and leisure activities?
- How much physical therapy will I need afterwards?
- Are there regional variations in techniques?
- How often is this procedure done?
- Why should I choose this surgeon?
- How many procedures does he/she do per year?
- What are his/her results? Does he/she know, and how?
- What are the potential complications? How common are they?