Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure used to diagnose and treat injuries to the knee joint. The tremendous benefits for patients who undergo knee arthroscopy include smaller incisions, accelerated recovery, and a lower risk of complications when compared to traditional open surgery.
In addition to ACL reconstruction, arthroscopy can be used to fix broken bones and damaged ligaments in other joints of the body.
The orthopedic surgeons at La Peer Health Systems are renowned experts in arthroscopic procedures. We formulate individualized treatment plans for patients with a variety of knee injuries to provide unparalleled quality of service and care. Contact our Beverly Hills office today at (855) 360-9119 to schedule a consultation.
How Does Knee Arthroscopy Work?
Also known as arthroscopic knee surgery, knee arthroscopy utilizes a high-tech instrument called an arthroscope. An arthroscope is only a few millimeters in diameter, and consists of a fiber-optic camera with a light attached at the end. The arthroscope provides live video feed from inside the joint, which is projected onto a monitor inside the operating room. Arthroscopy allows our orthopedic surgeons to navigate the inside of the knee joint and repair soft tissue with unprecedented precision.
Before the actual procedure takes place, patients are given anesthesia to numb the area being operated on and to reduce discomfort. during the knee arthroscopy.
Knee arthroscopic surgery begins with three small incisions in the skin of the knee-joint area. A small instrument with a camera and a little light called an arthroscope is inserted into the incision that will allow the orthopedic surgeon to see the inside of the joint and the damaged anterior cruciate ligament. The other two incisions will be used for addition instruments that need to be placed inside the joint during surgery.
This type of knee surgery can be classified into minor and major procedures. In major knee operations, a dislocated knee may need to be realigned, or grafting operations might be needed to fix one or more ligaments. Most arthroscopic knee surgeries are performed in an outpatient setting, such as La Peer surgical center, under a General Anesthesia, Spinal or Epidural, a regional block, or local anesthetic. After surgery, sterile dressings are placed over the incisions and a Brace Wrap is placed in the region surrounding the joint.
Knee Problems Treated with Arthroscopic Surgery
The goal of arthroscopic knee surgery is to provide relief from severe knee pain caused by mechanical injury to or degeneration of the connective tissues and cartilage of the knee. Our surgeons are specialized in advanced minimally invasive knee procedures, and routinely use knee arthroscopy to treat the following problems:
Our surgeons are specialized in advanced minimally invasive knee procedures, and routinely use knee arthroscopy to treat the following problems:
- Removal or repair of torn meniscal cartilage
- Reconstruction of a torn ACL or PCL
- Trimming of torn pieces of articular cartilage
- Removal of loose fragments of bone
- Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
Benefits of Knee Arthroscopy
Arthroscopic knee surgery is extremely beneficial to patients for a number of reasons. The small incisions, used only to slip in arthroscopic instruments, decrease trauma to connective tissues surrounding the incision. This results in less scarring and less pain after the procedure compared with traditional open knee surgery.
Knee arthroscopy has a smaller risk of complications and a better success rate than open surgery. Again, by doing less damage to nearby structures there is a smaller chance of post-surgery irritation in the knee joint that can cause pain or inhibit recovery.
Perhaps the most advantageous, arthroscopic knee surgery speeds up recovery time. Minimal incisions reduce the trauma endured by tissue during the procedure and, more importantly, the time your body needs to fully heal from the procedure. Arthroscopic surgery allows athletes and people who maintain an active lifestyle to return to their normal activities much faster than they would after traditional open surgery.
Candidate for Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Any patient with knee pain, damage to the knee, or limited knee function may be a candidate for knee arthroscopy. When non-operative treatments like medications and therapy have not been successful, those with a knee injury or knee degeneration can benefit from the minimally invasive procedure.
Arthroscopic knee surgery may not be enough to treat severe knee damage or disease. If a patient is suffering from severe knee osteoarthritis, total knee replacement will likely be the most suitable and effective treatment. However, partial and total knee replacement is used only on highly damaged surfaces and is usually considered a last resort.
How to Prepare for Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Before you undergo knee arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon may order preoperative tests, including blood tests or an EKG, to review your health.
You may need to temporarily stop taking your medications or supplements before your procedure. You also may need to avoid eating or drinking after midnight the day before the procedure to avoid complications with the anesthesia.
On the day of the knee arthroscopy, you will be given anesthesia. Knee arthroscopic surgery may be performed under general anesthesia, local anesthesia, or regional anesthesia. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will talk to you about which option may be best for you.
The Day Of Knee Arthroscopic Procedure
Once you are in the operating room ready for the procedure, you will be given the anesthesia and the skin on your knee will be cleaned to prevent infection. Your leg will be covered with surgical draping and a positioning device may be used to help stabilize the leg during the procedure.
The surgeon will make a few small incisions called portals that will allow him or her to see the area surrounding the knee.
First, your surgeon will diagnose the knee problem and determine what needs to happen next. If surgical treatment is needed, the surgeon will insert tiny instruments into the small incisions to complete tasks like shaving, cutting, grasping and repairing cartilage.
Most arthroscopic knee surgeries take an hour or less to complete. Once the procedure is over, the surgeon will close the incisions with stitches or small Band-Aids and will wrap the knee with a bandage.
Complications following knee arthroscopic surgery are rare, but if they do occur, they are usually minor and treated easily. Possible complications include infection, blood clots, stiffness in the knee, and accumulation of blood in the knee.
Knee Arthroscopy Recovery
Most patients can walk with a slight limp and without assistance within five days after surgery, although, most patients need crutches or some other type of assistance for a few days after surgery. Many patients recover from a knee arthroscopy and can resume most normal physical activities after 6 to 8 weeks. High impact exercise may need to postponed for longer. Driving may be resumed within one to three weeks.
Your doctor will prescribe medication to help relieve pain and inflammation. To reduce swelling, you should keep your leg elevated as much as possible for the first few days following surgery. Ice may also help to reduce pain and swelling.
Upon leaving the hospital, you will be wearing dressing over your knee. Patients are supposed to keep their knee clean and dry, and your surgeon will tell you when it’s okay to shower and bathe and when to change the dressing. Your surgeon will most likely see you a few days after surgery to check your knee and begin postoperative treatments.
Patients should exercise their knee regularly for several weeks following surgery to help restore motion in the leg and knee. Physical therapy may also be helpful in aiding recovery.
Most patients are able to return to all of the unrestricted activities they enjoyed before the surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What are the possible complications of knee arthroscopy?
A: Complications are uncommon but possible. Infections are the most common complication and can be prevented with antibiotics. Other complications include blood clots, excessive swelling or bleeding, and damage to blood vessels or nerves. Such complications occur in less than 1 percent of all arthroscopic procedures.
Q: Is bleeding after arthroscopic knee surgery normal?
A: Mild bleeding through the incision areas is normal. The area must be kept dry, covered, and reinforced with sterile gauze. If bleeding persists, contact your doctor.
Q: How can I manage pain after knee arthroscopy?
A: Most patients are prescribed pain relieving and/or anti-inflammatory medications following surgery. Patients may also use over-the-counter pain relief medications in place of prescription medications for mild pain.
Q: Will I need physical therapy after arthroscopic knee surgery?
A: Physical therapy can be important after surgery in order to regain range of motion. Patients may work with a physical therapist to regain a full and active range of motion.
Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon in Beverly Hills
La Peer Health Systems in Beverly Hills boast some of the country’s finest orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine doctors. We utilize the latest and most effective procedures when performing knee arthroscopy. To schedule a consultation with one of our talented arthroscopic knee surgeons in Beverly Hills, call (855) 360-9119.
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For more information please visit our Knee Surgery Center of Excellence website, dedicated 100% to knee surgery!