Knee arthroscopy is a less invasive surgical procedure, which is used to diagnose and treat joint issues. Here, a surgeon investigates and corrects through the use of a small tool called an arthroscope. Through a camera attached to the said tool, doctors can inspect and treat the joint for any identified damage.
Knee arthroscopy has risen in popularity over the years, as the procedure requires only small cuts in the skin and shorter recovery times. The procedure also takes less than an hour, rarely ever leading to serious complications.
When is it necessary?
Knee arthroscopy is usually recommended for painful conditions that do not respond to nonsurgical treatment, which includes physical therapy, rest, and other anti-inflammatory medications. The less invasive procedures can help relieve painful symptoms, especially those that damage surfaces and other soft tissues around the joint. Here are some of the most common conditions that require knee arthroscopy:
● Repair or removal of a torn meniscus
● Treatment of patella (kneecap) problems
● Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
● Treatment of knee sepsis (infection)
The Preparation for Knee Arthroscopy
Although depending on your healthcare provider, most doctors recommended a tailored preparation plan, which will include gentle exercises you are required to perform. You will also be barred from taking any prescription medicine, such as ibuprofen. Around 12 hours before the procedure, you will also be asked to stop eating to accommodate general anaesthesia.
The Recovery Period
As mentioned, the knee arthroscopy period is quicker than that of open surgery. You will likely be able to leave the hospital on the day of the operation, with specific instructions to help you handle recovery. However, it is crucial to note that recovery times can vary. Some individuals will be able to return to light activities in only one to three weeks, whereas others need six to eight weeks to recover. Here are some things you need to know about the recovery process:
1 – General recovery practices
Although less invasive, the procedure will still leave you in pain. Applying ice packs on the dressing and around the area is recommended, as this helps reduce pain and any swelling. You will also be required to keep your leg elevated for several days, and resting well and often is tantamount to a speedy recovery.
2 – Medication
Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions, especially when it comes to prescriptions. You will likely be prescribed with painkillers or OTC drugs for pain management. Aspirin may also be recommended, as this helps reduce the risk of blood clot formation.
3 – Exercises
Performing exercises before and after knee arthroscopy surgery can be beneficial, as these strengthen the muscles around the knee to help it recover fully. Your doctor will also show some simple stretches and exercises you can do at home. Remember that exercises are crucial to your recovery, so never skip out on them!
Although recovery is a given, some people may need lifestyle changes to protect the joint. Your exercise routines may be compromised, as with your other physical activities. Although the goal of knee arthroscopy is to help your joint heal, understand that your knee may not work as well as it did before. Such decisions still require the guidance of your doctor, however, so never hesitate to ask questions!
Do you need a knee arthroscopy? For the best possible results, Dr. David Edis of Victorian Orthopaedic in Frankston, VIC, is ready to answer any questions you may have. Let us help you recover—contact us today!