Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive technique of making repairs to the knee ligament or meniscus. The highly advanced procedure has an over 90 percent success rate. Arthroscopy involves the use of smaller incisions and specialized tools to perform the repairs.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a safe procedure, however, there are some risks associated with it. When an orthopedic surgeon considers recommending arthroscopic knee surgery, they will typically weigh the benefits and risks on a case-by-case basis.
Risks and Complications
The risks and complications associated with arthroscopic knee surgery include infection, nerve damage, blood clots, persistent swelling and stiffness, heart attack, and stroke.
Arthroscopy reduces the risk of infection due to the small incisions needed for the arthroscope to pass through. The risk of infection from arthroscopic knee surgery is very small, ranging from 0.009 to 0.4 percent. A more serious postoperative complication is an infection deep within the joint. This type of infection has an even lower incidence rate than superficial infections.
The orthopedic surgeon makes three tiny incisions around the front of the knee to perform arthroscopy. While there is a risk of nerve damage from the procedure, the anterior approach greatly reduces this as the major nerves and blood vessels are located in the back of the knee. Nerve damage can occur during meniscus suturing, which is why choosing a surgeon who has extensive experience performing arthroscopy is important.
The risk of developing blood clots after knee arthroscopy increases in patients who have blood disorders or genetic conditions that make them prone to clotting. For patients with no blood disorders, the risk is very low. Anticoagulant drugs or blood thinners are prescribed to prevent blood clots. Compression stockings, as well as movement and physical therapy exercises, are critical to preventing blood clotting, as well.
Heart Attack, Stroke, and Kidney Failure
Patients with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart and kidney disease can develop serious and fatal complications. There is inflammation in the body after surgery that is necessary for healing, which can cause cardiac and kidney complications. It is why patients need to undergo comprehensive testing before surgery.
Persistent Pain, Swelling, and Stiffness
A very small percentage of patients experience pain, swelling, and stiffness even after surgery. The operation may not be a success and may need a repeat knee arthroscopy.
The risks and complications associated with arthroscopic knee surgery increase with a doctor who is unskilled or inexperienced in the procedure. Check with your doctor and the hospital for knee arthroscopy complication rates, and weigh the benefits and risks before deciding to go through with it. Moreover, follow the doctor’s instructions strictly after the surgery to reduce the risk of complications.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Naples, FL
Our orthopedic surgeons at the Joint Replacement Institute are highly skilled in arthroscopy. It is one of our specializations, and we have performed the highly advanced procedure over a hundred times. We perform arthroscopy on all joints, including the knee.
In our facility, we don’t just perform surgical repair but also provide our patients with what they need to make a complete recovery and have the best outcomes. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with any of our orthopedic surgeons, call (239) 261-2663 or request one online now.