Knee arthroscopy is a surgical operation that uses small incisions to diagnose and treat a range of knee complaints including those that affect the meniscus, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and knee cap. Because this operation uses minimal invasive techniques, it results in less pain and joint stiffness. It also means that recovery times are usually quicker, allowing you to return to your favourite sports or activities sooner.
Day of Surgery
If your health is generally good, knee arthroscopy is performed as a day case or day procedure. This means that you will not need to stay in hospital overnight.
Your surgeon and anaesthetist will discuss with you the best anaesthetic to ensure your procedure is comfortable and pain free. The options include:
- Local anaesthesia, numbing only your knee.
- Regional anaesthesia, numbing you below the waist
- General anaesthesia, which puts you to sleep
The knee arthroscopy surgery itself will consist of the surgeon creating small incisions in your knee called portals. Sterile fluid will be used to flush your knee clean so the structure of your knee can be clearly seen with a small camera called an arthroscope. The images are projected onto a video screen to allow your surgeon to perform the surgery using specialised instruments through the small portals created earlier.
Following surgery most patients will be able to walk out of hospital and go home the same day but you may require crutches or other assistance. Arrange some help to get home and some company for the first night at home. Keeping your leg elevated, applying ice and resting are important. Waterproof dressings are used to allow you to shower almost straight away.
You will feel some pain after surgery, this is quite normal. A number of medicines and anti-inflammatory medications are available under prescription for short term pain relief. Your surgical team will work with you to identify the best medicines for your condition, which should be used as instructed.
Post-procedure exercise will play an important part in a successful outcome for this operation. A physiotherapist will see you before you leave hospital and you will be given exercises to ensure that your knee reaches the full range of movement as quickly as possible.