If your knee is suffering from debilitating pain that doesn’t respond to conservative (non-surgical) treatments, your orthopedic physician may recommend surgery. The doctor will have taken imaging scans and determined that you do not need a full knee replacement, but rather relatively minor repairs, in which case arthroscopic knee surgery may be recommended.
If you are a candidate for arthroscopic knee surgery or you are scheduled to have it performed on your knee, you may be wondering what to expect. Let’s talk about what’s involved in this procedure and where you can go to find long-lasting relief from your knee pain.
What Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery?
This operation is a minimally invasive technique that can alleviate chronic knee pain due to a wide range of conditions. Also called keyhole surgery, arthroscopic surgery is a method whereby a thin tube with a fiber-optic camera function at the end is inserted into a small incision near your knee. The surgeon then views your knee’s structures on a computer monitor there in the operating room, and the doctor can assess, diagnose, and treat the issue right away.
The surgeon can perform minor repairs such as removing bone spurs, removing loose bone fragments, removing scar tissue, and repairing damaged cartilage in the knee. Once these issues have been fixed and you heal from the surgery, your knee pain should be greatly diminished or eliminated completely.
Preparing for Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Before the surgery, you will need to ask someone else to be ready to drive you home after the procedure. Your surgeon may give you special instructions depending on your health and medical history, such as not taking certain medications beforehand. The physician may also instruct you to fast after midnight before the surgery, depending on the type of anesthetic used for your operation.
It will help if you wear loose-fitting clothing to the medical facility. You will be asked to remove most of your clothes and to wear a hospital gown for the surgery, so getting dressed again will be much easier if your clothes are loose. Plus, the loose or baggy clothes won’t aggravate the surgical site.
During the Procedure
There are different types of anesthetic: local, regional, and general. The decision of which to use will be made as part of your preparation for the surgery.
- Local anesthetic. Local anesthetics will numb only the site of the surgery, which allows you to stay awake during the procedure. At most, you might feel movement and slight pressure in the area during the operation.
- Regional anesthetic. Regional anesthetics will numb your leg up to the entire lower half of your body. While there are various types of regional anesthetic, the most common will involve your doctor inserting a needle into your lower spine.
- General anesthetic. Your doctor may recommend that you be unconscious during the procedure. In this case, a general anesthetic will let you sleep through the operation.
You can expect the surgery to take less than an hour, typically 30 to 45 minutes.
After the Operation
A knee arthroscopy should only leave a relatively tiny wound that will need stitches or sterile adhesive tape to close. Depending on your recovery rate and the type of anesthetic used, you may be placed in another room to rest and recover before you are discharged.
Your doctor will give you instructions about surgery aftercare, which will include the following:
- Medication for pain and inflammation
- Support for the knee and leg, such as a splint to immobilize the joint
- Physical therapy
Expect not to return to regular activity immediately after your operation, but you will be asked to carefully move the knee and put slight pressure on it to keep the blood flowing in the area. After a few days, you should be able to return to everyday life – but everyone’s recovery duration is different, so your doctor will explain how long to rest the area.
Also, call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Excessive pain
- Unexpected liquid discharge from your wound
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery in Naples, FL
Here at the Joint Replacement Institute, our highly trained and licensed orthopedic surgeons are knowledgeable and well-equipped to perform arthroscopic knee surgery. If you would like to find out whether you are a good candidate for the procedure, visit one of our doctors for a consultation.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact us today at (239) 261-2663 or fill out our secure appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you mitigate or eliminate your knee pain!