Arthroscopic knee surgery is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed in the U.S. The procedure is usually done to diagnose the underlying problem in a knee or to perform many types of repairs, such as repairing or removing a torn ligament in the knee. It has become popular recently because, unlike traditional surgical procedures, it doesn’t require large incisions. However, even if it’s less invasive than other methods, it’s still essential to know important details about it. That way, you’ll be familiar with the methods, risks, and benefits of the surgery.
Here is some important information about arthroscopic knee surgery.
What Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally-invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat knee conditions. Unlike traditional surgery, arthroscopy uses tiny incisions instead of large cuts to access the joint. Your orthopedic surgeon will use a small tubal device called an arthroscope, which has a camera attached to it. During the procedure, a live feed is projected on a monitor, which allows your surgeon to see inside the knee.
Depending on the patient’s condition, the doctor may use other tools to help in cutting and grasping. These tools are almost as thin as pencils, allowing them to pass through the small incision with ease.
How Is It Performed?
Before performing the procedure, the medical team will use one of the following types of anesthesia to relax and numb the patient:
- Local anesthesia – only the knee gets numb; the patient remains awake
- Regional anesthesia – also called spinal anesthesia; pain medicine is injected into the spine to numb the body’s lower region
- General anesthesia – prevents pain; causes a patient to go unconscious
Different factors are considered when your provider decides on which anesthesia to administer. The expertise of an anesthesiologist is needed to make the best decision.
After you are sedated, the surgeon will make two to three small incisions on your knee and pump it with saline to inflate it. This helps with the insertion of the arthroscope and other necessary tools into the knee. After removing, tying, cutting, or fixing your knee condition, your surgeon will drain the saline solution. Then, they will close the incisions with stitches and dress the wound with a sterile pad.
What Is The Typical Recovery Period For A Knee Arthroscopy?
The recovery period for a knee arthroscopy depends on the complexity of the condition and the patient’s ability to heal. Simpler procedures may heal faster compared to complicated ones, where major repair is needed.
In general, you can achieve full recovery in a few months, although many patients report significant recovery within a few weeks. Right after the surgery, you may need to use crutches to help you walk. You may also need a knee brace to stabilize the joint. In addition, your provider may prescribe medication to help relieve pain. Aside from following your doctor’s orders, physical therapy will help you heal faster and regain your strength and mobility.
Your doctor will tell you when you can go back to your usual activity level. They will also advise you when you can go back to being active or playing sports.
What Are The Possible Complications From The Procedure?
Even if knee arthroscopy is considered minimally invasive, it still poses possible complications, like:
- Knee stiffness
- Tissue or nerve damage that may be caused by the movement of tools inside the joint
- Blood clots rarely occur but may happen if the surgery lasts more than an hour or if you are high risk
- Allergic reaction to administered medication
- Infection, as it is with any invasive surgery, but it’s less of a possibility in arthroscopy compared to traditional knee surgery
Seek immediate medical assistance if you observe symptoms of blood clots, abnormal discharge, severe bleeding, or swelling at the surgical site. In addition, inform your doctor immediately of any allergic reactions you may be having following the procedure. Furthermore, contact your doctor if you feel severe pain apart from the minimal aches caused by the incision.
When Should You Undergo Knee Arthroscopy?
For knee conditions that come with mild to moderate symptoms, your doctor may suggest conservative methods first. That includes doing physical therapy, using assistive devices, resting, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Knee arthroscopy may be more suited for you if your condition doesn’t respond to conservative treatment or if it requires urgent surgical intervention.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is commonly recommended for people who:
- Are diagnosed with a severe knee injury
- Have tried conservative and nonsurgical treatments but have seen no improvement
- Need to undergo knee arthroscopy to get an accurate diagnosis
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery In Johnson County, MO
If there’s a chance that you’ll undergo knee arthroscopy, it’s best to know important information about it — what it is, how it’s performed, and when you should undergo it. It will also help to familiarize yourself with the usual recovery period and complications that may arise following the procedure.
If you’re looking for a clinic that performs arthroscopic knee surgery in Kansas City, look no further than Midwest Orthopaedics. We have a team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons who can give you the comprehensive and compassionate treatment you deserve.
If you want to know more about our services, you may call our friendly staff at (913) 362-8317. You may also schedule a consultation through our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!