Knee arthroscopy is a very common procedure used to not only examine the inside of a knee joint, but also to operate on problems such as:
- Torn menisci (cartilage) – these can either be repaired (small number of tears only) or usually resected or trimmed up.
- Damage to the smooth surfaces of the bones (articular cartilage)
- Removal of loose bits of bone or cartilage
- Realignment of abnormally tracking patella’s (knee cap)
- Anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions
The surgery is keyhole surgery and it is usually done as day surgery. A small telescope (approximately 4mm wide) is inserted into the knee through the small incisions and the surgery is performed.
This surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia, but can be done under spinal anaesthesia as well.
The knee joint is the commonly injured joint in the body. It can occur during sporting activities, a work incident and as you get older with normal day to day activities. The knee joint is more easily injured as you get older.
It usually occurs with a twisting manoeuvre, often with a bent knee. Symptoms of a knee injury can be immediate or come on a day to two later.
Often the knee is painful, swollen and can catch or click. It can be aggravated by squatting, kneeling or twisting and symptoms often don’t settle with antiinflammatories and physiotherapy, and so they come to arthroscopic surgery.
Knee arthroscopy is usually performed as day surgery and you can go home within a few hours after the operation.
After the arthroscopy a physiotherapist will explain the rehabilitation program and how to manage the symptoms in the first three to four days.
You can walk for short distances around the house in the first three to four days. Your knee will be swollen and the best and quickest way to recover from the surgery is to rest it as much as possible in the first three to four days.
The exercise program is very important in regaining muscle strength and normal limb function. The physiotherapist will explain these and how often to do them.
Most people can return to sedentary or desk type jobs within one to two weeks.
Returning to sport can take anywhere between four and eight weeks.