Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows your surgeon to look inside the knee, identify an underlying problem, and treat it using special instruments through a tiny incision about the size of a keyhole with minimum disruption of surrounding healthy tissue. It has helped many individuals regain mobility and function with minimum downtime. Could knee arthroscopy be the right choice for you? Here are a couple of questions you may want to ask your surgeon before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery:
1. Why is knee arthroscopy the best treatment option for my condition?
Knee arthroscopy may be performed to remove a torn meniscus, inflamed synovial tissue, or loose bodies from within the knee joint; trim damaged articular cartilage, repair a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), or treat joint infections and knee cap problems. If you have any of these conditions, knee arthroscopy maybe the right treatment for you.
2. How long is the knee arthroscopy procedure?
The time taken is usually 30-45 minutes, but it could vary depending on the type of procedure performed and the severity of your condition. If extensive repair work must be done, the procedure could last more than an hour.
3. What are the risks and complications associated with knee arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy has a very high success rate with the risk of complications being less than 1%. There is a very minimal risk of bleeding, clot formation within the leg veins, nerve injury, and postoperative infection.
4. Do I need to use a knee brace for other assistive devices after knee arthroscopy?
For a majority of procedures you may not need to use any assistive devices. For more complicated procedures such as meniscal repair, a knee brace may be necessary.
5. Is physical therapy necessary after knee arthroscopy?
This is usually determined during your first postoperative visit. Many patients have minimal swelling and pain after the procedure which allows them to regain their mobility quickly without the need for physical therapy, while others would require physical therapy to ensure a positive outcome.
6. Will I need to be on pain medications after knee arthroscopy?
A local anesthetic injection is usually given during the procedure to help you to deal with immediate postoperative pain. Your doctor will prescribe some pain medication that you should take only as instructed. It is also important to note that you should not drive when on narcotic pain medications. Most patients are able to wean off narcotic pain medications within a week or two.
7. How soon will I be able to return to work again after knee arthroscopy?
If you have a sedentary job, you may be able to return to work within one week. However, if the job involves manual labor, it may take 1-1/2 to 2 months before you can return to full duty.
Knee arthroscopy is a widely used treatment for a variety of knee problems and with the advances in surgical technique and instrumentation, the scope of applications is expected to increase. Contact us to find out if you might benefit from knee arthroscopy.
Dr. Ronak Patel is a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon offering a full range of care for all problems of the knee and shoulder with a special interest in complex knee disorders. Book your appointment with Dr. Patel today: (630) 929-2249.