Arthroscopy of the knee is one of the most widely performed orthopaedic surgeries in the world. This less invasive approach than traditional open knee surgery, allows for less tissue disruption, less bleeding, less pain, and faster recovery in some cases.
The procedure involves making several tiny incisions over the knee and inserting an arthroscope (camera). This allows the surgeon to visualize the anatomic structures. Working instruments can be placed in the other incision that allows for correction of the underlying problems. An arthroscopy of the knee allows an orthopaedic surgeon the opportunity to trim or repair a meniscal tear, remove loose bodies, excise inflamed tissue, repair a torn ligament, or resurface part of the joint surface.
Newer surgical techniques and instrumentation continues to evolve.
This type of surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. Anesthesia choices range from general anesthesia, to regional anesthesia (numbing below the waist), to local anesthesia in some cases.
Recovery from knee arthroscopy varies according to the underlying problem being treated. For many, this type of surgery allows for immediate weight bearing and return to activities in a relatively short period of time. Some may require the use of an assistive device such as crutches following this type of surgery.
Complications from this type of surgery are not that common. Some of the potential risks include infection, nerve and blood vessel injuries, bleeding and blood clots. There are also specific risks associated with anesthesia.