Knee arthroscopy is a common procedure performed these days, particularly for patients suffering from knee joint problems and knee injuries. It is worth understanding what knee arthroscopy is and when should you opt for it. It is also necessary to learn about the benefits and risks associated with it to be able to deal with knee arthroscopy in a better way.

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What is Knee Arthroscopy?

What is Knee Arthroscopy?

In Greek, 'arthro' means joint and 'scopy' means to look. Patients who suffer from joint disorders often need to undergo knee arthroscopy which can help to diagnose and treat such disorders. It is performed by an orthopedic surgeon and is a minimal invasive surgical procedure. During the knee arthroscopy procedure, the surgeon makes use of a small tube known as arthroscope and inserts it into the knee joint by making a small incision in the concerned area. A camera is attached to the end of the tube which allows the surgeon to see the inside of the knee. This visualization is used to diagnose the knee condition as well as inject medicine or perform surgical correction, as appropriate.

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Knee arthroscopy procedure is becoming more and more common with every passing day and is used quite frequently to diagnose and treat injuries related to the knee joints. These would include knee problems like inflamed tissue, loose body in the joint of knees or injuries like ACL tears, and tear in the meniscal cartilage to name some. The main aim of such a surgery is to reduce the pain in the knee joint with other symptoms and also improve its mobility thereby offering relief to the patient.

The main reasons why knee arthroscopy is becoming far more popular than an open knee surgery is that

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  • It has less complications associated with it,
  • It has a lesser postoperative swelling and
  • The recovery time following knee arthroscopy is far less as compared to open surgeries.

When Should You Opt for Knee Arthroscopy?

Earlier arthroscopy was considered to be one of the greatest surgical advancements in the orthopedic world. It was used as a diagnostic tool and helped orthopedic surgeons understand what exactly the problem was in the patient's knees. However, over time, it evolved from a diagnostic to a therapeutic tool and is now being used to treat an array of knee-related problems and injuries.

Sports persons and athletes benefitted the most from knee arthroscopy as their profession caused them to incur several knee injuries during their entire playing term. Being a minimally invasive surgery, knee arthroscopy offers quick relief from pain in the knees and also has a very short recovery period thereby allowing patients to start leading a normal life soon.

For people suffering from knee immobility or pain which do not respond to treatment very well, doctors may advise knee arthroscopy in order to diagnose and if required, treat the problem.

Here are some knee conditions when a knee arthroscopy may be advised.

  • To confirm the diagnosis of a knee problem
  • To reduce persistent knee pain and swelling
  • To control swelling in the synovium
  • To remove cysts from the knee joint
  • To repair torn posterior and anterior knee joint ligaments
  • To remove of cartilage pieces which are floating in the joints or removing bone fragments which interfere in knee mobility
  • To reduce patella dislocation
  • To repair torn meniscus

Benefits of Knee Arthroscopy

As compared to an open knee joint surgery, there are several benefits of knee arthroscopy which has been discussed below.

  • Being a very minimally invasive surgery, knee arthroscopy requires just one or 2 small incisions around the affected knee which results in minimal scars. In case of an open knee surgery, a very large incision needs to be made which can also leave behind a big permanent scar.
  • Knee arthroscopy has a much higher success rate as compared to open knee joint surgery.
  • This procedure gained immense popularity as it causes very less trauma to the connective tissues while the open knee joint surgery can cause a much higher one.
  • Professional athletes find it easier to get a knee arthroscopy as they often experience knee injury when playing their sport and rehabilitation and healing time is much faster after such a procedure. This is a major benefit of knee arthroscopy as far as athletes and sportspersons are concerned.
  • The postoperative swelling and pain is far lesser in knee arthroscopy and the patient is able to start leading a normal pain-free life quite quickly. This is yet another important benefit of knee arthroscopy.
  • Being a very cost effective surgery, the patient does not have to stay in the hospital for a long time once it is over. Depending on the progress of the patient, the doctor is most likely to release the patient after few days of hospital stay.
  • One of the biggest benefits of knee arthroscopy is that quick and fast healing helps patient to return to his normal life much sooner.
  • One of the benefits of knee arthroscopy also includes lesser chances of complications. The chances of getting an infection or complication are quite less in knee arthroscopy. An overall decrease in morbidity is seen after this surgery.

Risks of Knee Arthroscopy

No matter how minimal the procedure, there is always a small amount of risk associated with any kind of surgery. It is the duty of the orthopedic surgeon to explain to the patient all the risks involved before performing the surgery.

Though most risk of knee arthroscopy are minor in nature and can be dealt with easily, it is important to know about it before you opt for the surgery. The commonest risks of knee arthroscopy include:

  • Blood clot formation
  • Infection
  • Blood might get collected in the joints of the knee.
  • The artery, cartilage or nerve and the ligaments of the knee joints might get injured during the surgery.
  • Knee joints might become stiff after the surgery affecting the patient's mobility. However, the chances for this to happen are quite low and effective rehabilitation can usually take care of it.

Conclusion

Knee Arthroscopy can prove to be a blessing for those suffering from an array of knee joint problems. Consult your doctor about how the knee arthroscopy surgery will prove beneficial to you and whether you need to get it done. Seek medical opinion about your knee condition and know the benefits and the risks of knee arthroscopy for your particular condition, which will help you, take an informed decision.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: May 8, 2017

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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