Key Hole Knee Surgery/ Knee Arthroscopy
Knee Arthroscopy is a procedure most commonly performed for soft tissue cartilage tears, known as mensical tears, loose bodies, cartilage defects due to early knee arthritis and for knee inflammation. Typical symptoms of a meniscal tear are an aching discomfort localised either to the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) of your knee. These symptoms may be worse with sudden unexpected twisting movements causing a sharp discomfort, clicking, knee swelling or locking.
Knee arthroscopy allows the surgeon to diagnose and treat knee disorders by providing a clear view of the inside of the knee with small incisions, using an instrument called an arthroscope. The arthroscope contains optic fibres that transmit an image of your knee through a small camera to a television monitor. This image allows the surgeon to thoroughly examine the inside of your knee and determine the cause of your problem. During the procedure, the surgeon also can insert surgical instruments through other small incisions in your knee to remove or repair damaged tissues.
Knee arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat several causes of knee pain, either due to early knee osteoarthritis or sporting injuries. Knee arthroscopy allows the treatment of torn meniscal cartilage, the removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage, treatment of damaged joint surfaces (either with cartilage transplant or a technique known as ‘microfracture’), treatment of abnormal alignment or instability of the kneecap, and treatment of torn ligaments such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
By providing a clear picture of the knee, arthroscopy can also help the surgeon decide whether other types of reconstructive surgery would be beneficial.
Almost all arthroscopic knee surgery is done on an outpatient basis. The hospital will contact you about the specific details for your surgery, but usually you will be asked to arrive at the hospital an hour or two prior to your surgery.
TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME
Knee arthroscopies are commonly performed for meniscal (soft tissue cartilage) tears which may be traumatic or associated with wear and tear (degenerate tears). It is generally a very successful procedure but it is important that you understand what may be achieved in terms of improvement in pain and function after your surgery, as the indications for knee arthroscopy are varied. Some patients who have predominantly arthritic changes due to wear and tear may not experience as much improvement compared to others who have suffered a traumatic meniscal tear.
In any event, working hard with your physiotherapist after knee arthroscopy is key to ensuring an optimal outcome. The initial emphasis after surgery is reducing knee swelling and improving the range of movement in your knee, followed by conditioning and strengthening exercises.
Knee arthroscopy is one of the commonest orthopaedic procedures performed worldwide. It is a procedure commonly performed for soft tissue cartilage tears, for early osteoarthritis where a defined pathology such as a loose body, defect in the hard cartilage of the knee or malalignment is identified. It can be performed for correcting soft tissue alignment problems in the knee cap. It is a procedure that can aid in cruciate ligament reconstruction In this section I will describe what the procedure involves, the indications for the procedure, risks and benefits associated with knee arthroscopy.