Arthroscopy is a closed surgery method performed with the insertion of a camera and treatment instruments into the joint through 0.5cm incisions. One of the most common arthroscopic operations is knee arthroscopy. Knee arthroscopy is particularly preferred for meniscus and ligament injuries and involves the use of a high definition camera and monitor along with treatment instruments in order to diagnose and treat the damaged joint structures. In addition to meniscus and ligament injuries, knee arthroscopy is also the selected method for the treatment of numerous knee problems and it can be applied in shaving deteriorated joint cartilages, extracting loose bodies within the joint, eliminating infected tissues, and releasing the pressure on strained ligaments.
Arthroscopy: Surgical Procedure
Knee arthroscopy can be performed under spinal or general anaesthesia in operating theatre environment. After sterilizing the knee with special solutions, a small incision is made on the side of the kneecap through which the camera operates. For the restorative operation, another small incision is made on the other side of the kneecap. The surgeon then operates the joint while watching the camera imaging on the monitor and performs the restoration procedure.
Advantages of Knee Arthroscopy
Knee arthroscopy is a closed surgical operation and has some distinct advantages over open surgery particularly due to miniscule incisions it requires. In addition to that, high definition camera system ensures detailed evaluation and provides comfort and safety. Advantages of knee arthroscopy are:
- Detailed imaging
- Comfortable and safe operation procedure
- Low risk of complications
- Discharge from hospital within 24 hours
- Quick recovery period
- Less pain
- Less visible scars
- Low risk of infection
After Knee Arthroscopy
In most cases, patients are discharged on the day of the operation or the following day. Compared to open surgery, arthroscopy is much less painful and this can be averted with simple analgesic medications. Patients can stand on their feet on the day of the operation with the help of a cane. The wound is dressed at 3-4 day intervals. Patients should not expose the operated area to water until after the stitches are removed. The stiches are removed 10-15 days after the operation when patients come in for their post-operative visit. In order to prevent swelling and pain, cold compress should be applied with ice (3-4 times a day, for 20 minutes). Again, a cushion to elevate the knee will also prevent swelling. Patients are expected to follow the exercise programme instructed by the doctor closely to increase the range of motion of the knee and recover more quickly. The aim of these exercises is to achieve flexion of the knee as soon as possible. Physiotherapy support would also be beneficial in order to strengthen muscles and recover quickly. Recovery time varies in accordance with the severity of the injury. For instance, anterior cruciate ligament injuries need more time to heal than meniscus injuries.