Arthroscopic knee surgery is a type of minimally invasive surgery used to view, diagnose, and treat a wide range of problems within the knee joint. It requires very small incisions and is guided by a miniature viewing instrument that displays images on a video monitor and surgical instruments. There is less risk of infection and complications with this type of procedure, and recovery is usually much quicker compared with traditional open knee surgery.
Arthroscopic knee surgery may be recommended if you have ongoing knee pain, knee instability, or loss of function or mobility in the knee, which have not responded to non-surgical treatments. An arthroscopy can be used to repair damage in the knee, such as torn knee ligaments and tendons or meniscal tears, and to remove inflamed tissue and fragments of loose bone or cartilage within the joint. A tissue sample can also be taken via arthroscopy, which may help to diagnose problems such an infection.
Preparing for Knee Surgery
Knee arthroscopy is designed to meet your individual needs and recovery time can vary depending on the extent of your condition and what was done during surgery. Your orthopaedic surgeon will explain what to expect and how you can prepare for the surgery in order to ensure a successful recovery.
If you are a smoker, try to stop prior to surgery. Smoking raises your chances of infection and complications after surgery, and it can also make wounds take longer to heal which can prolong your recovery.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, but in some cases, an overnight stay in the hospital may be needed. Knee arthroscopy can be performed under local, regional, or general anesthesia depending on the suspected problem. Your surgeon will talk to you about which method is best for you. By following post-op care guidelines, you can reduce the risk of complications and ensure a successful recovery.
Your surgeon will want to see you a few days after the procedure to check your progress and to discuss postoperative care and additional treatment.
Reducing Pain and Swelling
After surgery, you may feel some pain, which is a natural part of the healing process. Pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications can help to minimize post-operative discomfort, such as pain and swelling. Keeping the leg elevated as much as possible for at least 72 hours can ease pain and swelling and keep the knee more comfortable. It will also help to avoid any complications. Additionally, ice packs applied to the knee can help reduce swelling and improve comfort.
A dressing will be applied to your knee following surgery which will need to be kept clean and dry. Dressings may need to be left on until your follow-up appointment with your surgeon, but instructions will be provided if you need to change them. Your surgeon will tell you when you can bathe or shower following surgery.
Returning to Activities
Your surgeon may restrict your activity for a short period of time, and many patients require crutches or other assistance after a knee arthroscopy. It is important to allow adequate healing time as returning to activities too soon can cause complications and delay healing. Your surgeon will advise when it is safe to resume normal activities after surgery. You will be given exercises to perform for several weeks after surgery and depending on the extent of the procedure, physical therapy may also be recommended to mobilize and strengthen the joint.
It is common for most people to return to work or school after a few days, and patients are typically able to drive 1-3 weeks after the procedure. It is important to attend all follow up appointments with your surgeon following surgery to ensure your knee is healing correctly and recovery is a success. It usually takes several weeks for the knee joint to fully recover.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery in Mission, Kansas
If you are experiencing ongoing knee pain, it may be time to schedule a visit with an orthopaedic specialist at Midwest Orthopaedics. Our specially trained physician assistants and orthopaedic doctors have extensive experience successfully treating a variety of knee problems, allowing you to get back to your lifestyle as soon as possible.