Arthroscopy allows doctors to diagnose and/or treat many joint problems
utilizing a minimally invasive surgical method. In this procedure a tiny camera,
called an arthroscope, is introduced into the joint through a small incision. The
video captured by the arthroscope is projected onto a viewing screen enabling the
surgeon to see all of the structures in the joint in great detail. At the same time
miniaturized surgical instruments to perform tasks associated with the diagnosis
and repair of the joint are inserted through other incisions.
When indicated, an arthroscopic procedure has some advantages over an
open surgery. Because smaller incisions are required and there is less disruption to
surrounding structures, post-operative pain and recovery time is generally reduced.
Additionally these operations can often be performed as outpatient procedures.
Knee arthroscopy is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. It is
often used to locate and identify sources of knee pain and to repair or remove
damaged knee tissue when surgical treatment is necessary.
Arthroscopic surgery is frequently used in the diagnosis and treatment of a number
of knee problems including:
- Torn or damaged anterior or posterior cruciate ligaments
- Torn meniscal cartilage
- Patella (kneecap) that is out of position
- Pieces of torn cartilage that are loose in the joint
- Removal of a Baker’s cyst (a swelling behind the knee that is filled
- Some fractures of the bones of the knee
- Swollen or damaged synovium (the lining in the joint)
Recovery time from an arthroscopic procedure on the knee depends on the
severity of the knee problem as well as the complexity of the surgical treatment to
repair, reconstruct, or remove damaged tissue. A smooth recovery depends in large
part on a strict adherence to all post-operative care instructions. It is important to
follow the surgeon’s recommendations for a return to daily activities and to
participate in a prescribed physical rehabilitation program.