Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure used by doctors to diagnose and treat health problems in and around your knee joint, including issues like a misaligned patella or torn meniscus. During a knee arthroscopy, your doctor will make a small incision near your knee joint and insert a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the incision so that he or she can view the inside of your knee joint. This makes it easy for your doctor to identify and treat problems in your knee.
Fortunately, if you have to undergo a knee arthroscopy, there are very few risks involved and the recovery period is fairly short, depending on the severity of your knee problem.
Oftentimes, if you’re experiencing knee pain, your doctor may recommend a knee arthroscopy to help diagnose your condition and the cause of your pain. The procedure is commonly used to diagnose the following knee problems:
If your doctor recommends a knee arthroscopy, you will want to ensure you properly prepare for the procedure. Part of the preparation process is telling your doctor what medications, supplements, and prescriptions you’re taking. Depending on your condition, you may have to stop taking certain medications days or weeks before your scheduled knee arthroscopy. Typically, you may also have to fast for up to 12 hours before the procedure.
Before cutting into your skin and performing the procedure, your doctor may apply or give you a local, regional, or general anesthetic to help with the pain. From there, he or she will make small incisions in your knee and insert the arthroscope into one of the cuts. This allows them to examine your joint more thoroughly to pinpoint any problems in your knee.
Once your doctor identifies the problem, he or she may work to correct the issue using small tools before mending the cuts with stitches.
As with any type of surgery, there are risks associated with knee arthroscopy, and these include the following:
Because a knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure, most patients recover quickly with rest, knee support braces, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain relievers from the comfort of their homes. If you’re scheduled for knee arthroscopy, your doctor may advise you to keep your knee elevated for at least a day or two after the procedure to help reduce pain and swelling. He or she may also refer you to a physical therapist to help strengthen the muscles around your knee. Overall, the prognosis for this procedure is good with the proper treatment and rest.