What is knee arthroscopy?

A knee arthroscopy is used to perform a diagnosis of problems in the knee joint, paving the way to treatment. It is a surgical procedure, during which your surgeon will make a tiny incision before inserting a very small camera. The camera is known as an arthroscope and allows the inside of your knee joint to be viewed on a monitor inside the operating room.

Having identified the problems, which can include issues such as a misaligned patella or torn meniscus, Mr Mann can then move onto corrective procedures.

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Why might I need knee arthroscopy?

While a knee arthroscopy may be recommended after a knee condition has already been diagnosed, it can also be used in the process of making a diagnosis. The arthroscopy itself allows doctors to both identify the source of pain and treat the problem.

Knee arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a broad range of knee problems such as:

  • Meniscal tears – Partial debridement or repair. Meniscal repair is always the preferred option. If the tear is complex or fragmented and in an area that has a poor blood supply then repair may not be possible in which case a limited debridement is performed.
  • Removal of loose bodies – Osteocartilaginous loose bodies or debris can be removed using keyhole technique
  • Osteochondral defects – Chondroplasty, microfracture and reattachment
  • Anterior Cruciate ligament reconstruction
  • Septic arthritis (infection in a native knee joint)
  • Periprosthetic infection ( infection in a knee replacement)
  • Diagnosis and treatment of kneecap conditions

What can I expect from the procedure?

After discussing the procedure with your doctor, and your method of anaesthesia with your anaesthetist, you will be directed to the operating room.

After the surgeon makes small incisions in the knee, sterile salt water is inserted in order to expand the knee, making it easier for the joint area to be seen. The arthroscope is inserted and can view the joint area via the camera. If corrective procedures are required, small tools may then be inserted to resolve the problems. Your surgeon can then drain the joint of salt water and stitch up the incision area.

Knee arthroscopy can take between one and two hours. You are usually able to return home without the need for an overnight hospital stay.

Recovery time

It can usually take up to six weeks to recover from knee arthroscopy, during which time normal joint fluid is re-established in the knee. Recovery times vary significantly from person to person, but it is recommended that you adhere to the advice given to you by Mr Mann and his team to ensure a full recovery.

An ice pack can be applied in the days following a knee arthroscopy procedure in order to reduce swelling, and elevating the knee is recognised as a way of reducing pain. An exercise regimen may be advised by your doctor to improve muscle strength and range of motion.

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