What is arthroscopy surgery

What is arthroscopy surgery

Arthroscopy is a new surgical approach that has revolutionized how various kinds of orthopaedic surgeries are performed. Today this minimally invasive surgical intervention, in which a joint is observed using a small camera with light, is used by worldwide knee surgeons to diagnose and treat knee injuries.

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Just a little more about knee arthroscopy surgery

Just a little more about knee arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is a minor surgical procedure that is performed through small incisions. To perform this operation, an orthopaedic surgeon inserts the arthroscope (a fiber-optic telescope about the size of a pencil) into the knee joint through a small incision on the outer side of the knee. A high-resolution camera and light are attached to this intricate instrument, enabling the surgeon to get clear inside the knee.


Through another small incision on the inner side of the knee, other surgical instruments such as small shavers, scissors, and tiny gadgets are inserted to repair or remove damaged tissue. The orthopaedic surgeons can view the clear structures of the knee and in great detail on a high definition television monitor, which helps them to diagnose the exact problem and determine the future course of action.

Arthroscopic surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis under local, regional, or general anaesthesia. Your incision will be closed either with a stitch or small band-aids and a soft bandage will be wrapped around the operated knee.

When you need a knee arthroscopy?

When do you need a knee arthroscopy?

Typically, knee arthroscopy will be done after you had an MRI check first and your orthopaedic doctor suggest that is appropriate for your health problem. 

When you need a knee arthroscopy:

• Torn meniscus and repair 
• Meniscus removal 
• Torn surface (articular) cartilage 
• Ligament injuries
• Reconstruction of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament 
• Knee-cap disorders 
• Washout of diseased knees 
• Knee pain diagnosis

Arthroscopy is not performed only for knee, it can treat other body joints such as the shoulder, ankle, elbow, hip, and wrist.

Benefits of arthroscopy

Benefits of arthroscopy

Arthroscopy can effectively diagnose your joint condition and enables your doctor to determine the appropriate treatment for knee problems such as ACL rupture and patella (knee-cap) disorder and meniscus tears. Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than traditional open knee surgery. Arthroscopy can provide significantly less pain and improve your knee mobility much faster. The healing process is quicker with fewer complications. 

Risks and Complications
Potential postoperative problems include:

• Bleeding and Formation of a blood clot in a deep vein or Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) 
• Infection 
• Stiffness 
• Swelling 
• Numbness near the incision area 
• Injury to vessels and nerves
• Continuing knee problems


Though arthroscopic knee surgery is considered a low-risk surgical procedure, there are possible risks and complications associated with it, most of which occur infrequently and are extremely small and treatable.

Decreased range of motion

After surgery, some patients may experience a decreased range of motion for their knee. This decrease in range of motion can be attributed to both the injury itself as well as the trauma during the surgery. Over time and physical therapy, the full range of motion can be obtained. However, in severe and rare cases, patients may experience stiffness in their knee for the rest of their lives.

Bleeding and formation of Blood clots
There is always a possibility that blood clots will form at the surgical site after surgery. This is due to the nature of the anaesthesia, causing the surgical area to be numb and devoid of blood. This can result in blood pooling in the bottom half of the body and result in blood clots after the surgery.

blood clots

Although all the surgical instruments are sterile, there is still a low risk of infection in patients due to different reasons such as poor surgical techniques and inadequate sterilization of medical personnel. Some pre-existing conditions of the patients can also increase the risk of infection such as diabetes. Infection can cause serious problems and patients will need to consume antibiotics orally to be cured.

Poor recovery exercises can cause stiffness after knee arthroscopy. Stretching a few times a week can help to recover properly and heal stiffness of the knee.

Although the incisions of a knee arthroscopy surgery are small, the work done inside the knee itself may be complex and prolonged, causing inflammation and swelling. Swelling is usually happening in almost any kind of operation.


Numbness near the area of the incisions
The entire surgery will be carried out in a careful and meticulous way. However, since arthroscopy surgery involves the use of surgical instruments passing through small incisions in the knee, some further damages or injuries to the knee could happen when trying to pass the instruments through. In unfortunate scenarios, the surrounding tissues and nerves could also be accidentally injured. However, this is a very rare thing to happen. Numbness near the area of the incisions should disappear over time.

Hemarthrosis is a rare effect of arthroscopy surgery. It is a collection of blood at the surgical site which can cause pain if there is a significant amount of blood. It will also lead to inflammation and infection.

There are some chances to have continuing knee problems


Continuing knee problems
In very rare cases, arthroscopy surgery might not be done successfully or it cannot treat certain conditions, such as arthritis. You should contact your surgeon or visit another doctor to see another opinion. 

Above are some of the effects of arthroscopy surgery. Overall, it is a rather safe surgical method but it depends on the quality of the surgeon you choose as most of it is due to poor surgical techniques.

Notify your orthopaedic surgeon’s office immediately if you experience any of the following:

• Elevated fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit 
• Chills 
• Persistent warmth or redness around the knee 
• Pus-like drainage from the incisions 
• Persistent or increased pain 
• Significant swelling in your calf, foot or ankle 
• Increasing pain in your calf muscle that is unrelieved by rest

Recovery Time

Recovery from knee arthroscopy largely depends on the degree of damage to your knee and the nature of the surgery performed to treat it as well as the patient’s health condition. Patients often return to their normal activities after 6 to 8 weeks. Performing higher impact activities may take a little longer. For a quicker and safer knee surgery recovery, you must follow the instructions and tips given by your doctor on knee surgery recovery.

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