Knee arthroscopy is used by doctors to diagnose the source of knee pain
It may be recommend that you undergo a knee arthroscopy if you’re experiencing knee pain. You might have already been diagnosed with a condition causing your pain, or you may need an arthroscopy to help find a diagnosis. In either case, an arthroscopy is a useful way for doctors to confirm the source of knee pain and treat the problem.
Arthroscopic surgery can diagnose and treat knee injuries, including:
- Torn anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
- Torn meniscus (the cartilage between the bones in the knee)
patella that’s out of position
- Pieces of torn cartilage that are loose in the joint
- Removal of a Baker’s cyst
- Fractures in the knee bones
- Swollen synovium (the lining in the joint)
What happens during a knee arthroscopy?
You will be given an anaesthetic before your knee arthroscopy.
This may be:
- Regional – numbs you from the waist down
- General – puts you completely to sleep
If you’re awake, you may be able to watch the procedure on a monitor.
Dr Al-Khateeb will make a few small incisions in your knee. Sterile saltwater, or saline, will then be pumped in to expand your knee. This makes it easier for the surgeon to see inside the joint. The arthroscope enters one of the cuts and the surgeon will look around in your joint using the attached camera. He can see the images produced by the camera on the monitor in the operating room.
When he locates the problem in your knee, he may then insert small tools into the incisions to correct the issue. After the surgery, he drains the saline from your joint and closes your cuts with stitches.
How do I prepare for a knee arthroscopy?
Make sure you tell Dr Al-Khateeb about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, or supplements that you’re currently taking. You may need to stop taking certain medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, for weeks or days before the procedure.
You must also refrain from eating or drinking for 6 -12 hours before surgery. In some cases, you may be prescribed pain medication for any discomfort you experience after surgery.
Knee arthroscopy has specific risks which you need to be aware of ahead of surgery.
There are risks associated with any type of surgery, though they are rare.
Every surgery has the following risks:
- excessive bleeding during the procedure
- infection at the site of the surgery
- breathing difficulties caused by anesthesia
- allergic reaction to anaesthesia or other medications administered during surgery
There are also risks specific to knee arthroscopy, such as:
- bleeding inside the knee joint
- formation of a blood clot in the leg
- infection inside the joint
- stiffness in the knee
- injury or damage to the cartilage, ligaments, meniscus, blood vessels, or nerves of the knee
Knee arthroscopy surgery isn’t very invasive. For most people, the procedure takes less than an hour depending on the specific procedure. You will likely go home on the same day for recovery.
At home, you should have someone look after you, at least for the first day.
Try to keep your leg elevated and put ice on it for a day or two to reduce swelling and pain. You’ll also need to change your dressing.
You will be told when to do these things and for how long. You will probably need a follow-up appointment a few days after the procedure.
Mr Al-Khateeb will give you an exercise plan to follow at home to help your knee recover or he will recommend a physiotherapist for you to see until you’re able to use your knee normally.
The exercises are necessary to help restore your full range of motion and to strengthen your muscles. With the proper care, your outlook after having this procedure is excellent.
Clemenceau Medical Center Hospital, Dubai