Physical Therapy for Injuries
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery: Reasons, Risks, and Outcomes
Reasons for knee arthroscopy
Several knee problems could lead to arthroscopic knee surgery, such as a torn meniscus, torn ligaments, or a misaligned kneecap. Sometimes, we may need the arthroscope to find a diagnosis if it isn’t apparent from an MRI or X-ray.
Knee pain can be treated easily with an arthroscopy. Additional knee injuries that arthroscopic surgery can treat include:
- Pieces of torn cartilage loose in the joint
- Removal of a Baker’s cyst
- Fractures in knee bones
- Swollen synovium, or lining in the joint
What happens during a knee arthroscopy?
When preparing for surgery, we need to know about any medications or nutritional supplements patients are currently taking. Some medicines may need to be halted for the days or weeks before surgery. Do not eat or drink for six to 12 hours prior to surgery.
Before undergoing the procedure, our anesthesia specialist will give you an anesthetic that numbs the injured area and puts you to sleep. Dr. Snyder will make a few small incisions in the knee and use sterile salt water to expand the joint, which makes it easier to view during surgery.
The arthroscope will be inserted into one of the incisions, and Dr. Snyder will view the joint and area of injury on a monitor in the operation room. After locating the issue, he will use small tools to correct the problem, drain the saline, and close the cuts with stitches.
Possible risks from knee arthroscopy
Even though knee arthroscopy is minimally invasive and comparably less serious than other surgeries, there are still risks. These complications may arise no matter the type of surgery: excessive bleeding, infection, breathing difficulties from anesthesia, or allergic reactions.
Specific risks to knee arthroscopy include bleeding inside the joint, blood clot forming in the leg, infection in the knee, stiffness in the knee, or injury to the cartilage, ligaments, or other areas surrounding the injury. However, these are rare.
Recovery and postoperative expectations
Because this is a minimally invasive, outpatient operation, it usually takes less than an hour for most patients. Ice helps reduce swelling and pain, and elevating the leg will also contribute to comfort and minimized pain.
To regain full range of motion and strength surrounding the healing joint, our rehabilitation specialists will provide a personalized physical therapy care plan. It is advised to take it easy for the first few weeks to months. You should be back to your regular activities and exercise within a few months from your knee arthroscopy.