Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy has in many cases replaced the classic arthrotomy that was performed in the past. Today knee arthroscopy is commonly performed for treating meniscus injury, reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament and for cartilage microfracturing.

During an average knee arthroscopy, a small fiber-optic camera (the arthroscope) is inserted into the joint through a small incision, about 4 mm (1/8 inch) long. A special fluid is used to visualize the joint parts. More incisions might be performed in order to check other parts of the knee. Then other miniature instruments are used and the surgery is performed.

The femur, the tibia and the patella (kneecaps) come together to form the knee joint. It plays an immense role in ensuring flexibility of movement, heavy lifting and balance. Anatomically, this modified hinge joint is made of many parts including bones, tendons and ligaments. All of these parts are very delicately balanced and need attention and care which we often times do not provide. While the knee can withstand gross amount of weight and abuse, there are some things one should keep in mind:

  • A healthy knee means mobile joints above and below the knee, strong knee joint and proper mechanics during physical movement.
  • Knees are vulnerable – to age and excessive wear and tear.
  • Inflammation, knee cap pain, torn meniscus, ligament problem and arthritis are common knee-related problem faced by many.
  • Wearing non-bouncy, relatively flat footwear and ensuring you are exercising correctly are practical ways of ensuring the knee joint is safeguarded.

Knee pain is something that affects millions of people worldwide every single day. With 20% of all men experiencing knee pain at some point and more women than men suffering from knee-related pain, it is an issue that cannot be taken lightly. According to one research, osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis in India, affecting over 15 million adults every year. To understand the issue with the knee better and in order to treat it correctly, a procedure called arthroscopy exists.

When Do You Need A Knee Arthroscopy?

• Arthroscopy diagnoses several knee problems and is often recommended by the doctor to get a closer look at the problem.
• It can also repair the ligaments of the joint, a torn meniscus, fractures to the knee or a misaligned patella
• Doctors often turn to arthroscopy if X-rays and other imaging studies have left some diagnostic questions unanswered.

How To Prepare For A Knee Arthroscopy?

The level of preparation depends on the level of investigation of the arthroscopy. The doctor will often times recommend prescription, over-the-counter drugs and supplements and may also advice against certain medications like ibuprofen and aspirin a few weeks before the procedure. 6 to 12 hours before the surgery, the patient will be asked to stop intake of solid food i.e. fast still the surgery. It might be advisable to get certain post-surgery arrangements like medication and ride back home before the procedure.

Procedure

Apollo Spectra provides a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to each patient’s treatment. A cuff-like device that inflates may be used around your thigh to help control bleeding during Knee Arthroscopy. The surgeon will make 2 or 3 small incisions around your knee. Saltwater (saline) will be pumped into the knee to open up the space. A narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end will be inserted through one of the incisions. The camera is attached to a video monitor in the operating room. The surgeon looks at the monitor to see the inside of the knee and identify problems. Other medical instruments may also be introduced inside the knee through the other small incisions. The surgeon then repairs or removes the problem in the knee.

At the end of the surgery, the saline will be drained from the knee. The surgeon will close the incisions with sutures (stitches) and cover them with a dressing.

The range of procedures that can be performed at the time of standard knee arthroscopy include:-
• Meniscal resection / trimming / repair (as appropriate) for meniscal tears
• Abrasion chondroplasty (shaving of rough damaged cartilage for articular cartilage damage )
• Radiofrequency ablation chondroplasty (welding-over of cracks / fissures in the articular cartilage)
• Removal of cartilage loose bodies

Results

Post-surgery, the patient is allowed to recuperate in a separate room for a few hours before going home. Healing may take a couple of weeks. During this time, you will be under constant observation and monitored by the doctor closely. Post procedure, the surgeon will review the findings almost immediately. There may be need for another surgery or just palliative post-surgery exercise and care. At Apollo Spectra, These will be provided to you in a written report.

Potential Risks Of A Knee Arthroscopy

• Complications are uncommon but one must be aware of their possibilities.
• Every surgery is associated with risks like excessive bleeding, infection of the sight of the surgery and allergic reactions to the anaesthesia.
• Tissue damage is one of the possible issues caused by placement and movement of the instruments within the joint.
• Blood clots in the leg are possible when a surgery lasts more than an hour.
• Lack of post-surgery exercise can lead to stiffness of the knee.

Recovery

Since the surgery is minimally invasive, recovery is not long drawn or difficult.

• Ice packs once you’re home are essential for reducing the swelling and pain. Also change your dressing frequently and under supervision.
• An exercise routine will be prescribed by the doctor which one must follow religiously to ensure full range of motion. A physiotherapist may have to be involved.
• Temporary splints of crutches might be needed to protect the knee and for accelerated recovery.
• Ensure that you follow the schedule mentioned for follow-up appointments and tests.
• Desk work and light activity can be resumed after a week.

At Apollo Spectra, knee arthroscopies are performed by our highly trained and skilled expert surgeons. Our physiotherapists would be providing you with their support for your early recovery from the procedure. We care for our patients, from their diagnosis to their treatment and provide them will all the facilities, post-surgery.

Our team of surgeons ensure that you’re treated correctly, to bring out the best results and minimise any complications that could arise after the surgery. With the use of latest techniques and state-of-the-art technology, our surgeons keep in mind the patient’s safety and health and then go ahead with the surgery.

FAQs

How long will I be on crutches after knee arthroscopy?

Most people are advised to opt for crutches after this procedure to relieve and to let the knee heal without any strain on it. However, it is encouraged to start letting the knee take your full weight as soon as possible. In about two weeks, most patients are able to walk normally with a minimal limp. Complete benefit from the procedure is realized usually within 4 – 6 weeks.

Can I drive post-surgery?

Absolutely. However, only once you are off pain medication. If the surgery was on your left knee and you drive an automatic car, you can drive 3 days after your surgery and if it was the right leg, you can drive 7-10 days’ post-surgery. However, ensure that you test your ability in a safe environment before hitting the road.

When do I start therapy?

If therapy is needed, it will usually start after your first follow-up visit with the doctor.

Why does my knee still hurt post-surgery?

The knee will not get back to normal in a day or two of surgery. While most people feel better almost immediately, the knee will remain swollen for a few weeks and there might be pain associated with that region especially when the knee is recovering from ‘wear and tear’ or degeneration. Only after ample rest and recovery can the effectiveness of the surgery be judged. Post that, if the pain continues, it is advisable to see your doctor.