What happens during knee arthroscopy surgery?

An arthroscopy is a type of minimally invasive keyhole surgery which allows your surgeon to view your knee joint by making only 2 small incisions in your skin.

During an arthroscopy, your surgeon will insert an arthroscope or tiny camera through a small incision (about 1cm) that allows them to examine your knee, diagnose any knee joint or meniscus injuries, and remove any damaged cartilage. 

When would I need arthroscopy surgery?

Arthroscopy surgery is commonly used to treat meniscal tears, which are often associated with other injuries such as ACL ruptures.

The meniscus is a specialised cartilage that acts as a shock absorber to the knee and protects the cartilage that lines the knee joint. Injury to your meniscus can cause knee pain and discomfort during everyday activities, and can lead to osteoarthritis over the long-term if left untreated.

What are the benefits of arthroscopy surgery?

There are a number of benefits of arthroscopy surgery due to the smaller incisions made by your surgeon.

  • There is less tissue damage.
  • Recovery can be faster.
  • There are less stitches required afterwards.
  • There is a lowered risk of infection.

What can I expect from arthroscopy surgery?

During surgery, your surgeon will first make a small 1cm incision to allow them to insert a scope so they can see the condition of your knee joint. If your knee requires treatment, your surgeon will make an additional small incision through which they can insert tiny instruments to remove or repair the damaged meniscus cartilage, to reconstruct an ACL ligament, trim torn pieces of articular cartilage or remove inflamed synovial tissue.

Once completed, your surgeon will close each incision with a stitch or steri-strip and then cover them with a bandage.

What can I expect from my recovery from arthroscopy surgery?

As the surgical procedure is minimally invasive, patients who undergo arthroscopy surgery for the treatment of a meniscus tear can often return to normal activities quickly. If the meniscus is removed, patients might only need a few days off work and have few activity restrictions.

Your recovery will depend on your unique circumstances, overall health and extent of your injury. Your surgeon will be able to guide you along your recovery and provide advice on what you can expect from the process relative to your condition.

Dr Stuart MacKenzie, one of the top Orthopaedic Surgeons in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, has created an e-book on Meniscus Injuries so you know what to expect from your surgery and recovery.

Meniscus Injuries Download CTA

orthopaedic surgery information kit CTA

22 Aug 2019

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