Knee arthroscopy is a type of keyhole surgery that is used to diagnose and treat knee problems which can include inflammation, damage, injury and infections. It allows your surgeon to see inside your knee using a camera inserted through small cuts on your skin and means that problems, such as a torn cartilage, ligament damage and arthritis, can be diagnosed and treated without the need for a larger cut on your skin.
Knee arthroscopy is usually done under general anaesthetic and the operation takes around 30 to 45 minutes. Your surgeon will examine inside the knee while your muscles are completely relaxed. They will also wash out any loose material caused by wear of the joint services. It is also possible to carry out more complex surgery, such as repairing torn knee ligaments, during an arthroscopy.
Depending on what the surgery involves, often you can go home the same day, but if you’ve had an anaesthetic that might numb a wider area of your leg, then you may need to stay in overnight.
The benefits of your surgery depend on the exact work that was done and how badly your knee was damaged. Usually the extent of damage is unknown until the arthroscopy is performed. The benefit of keyhole surgery is that you should recover more quickly from knee arthroscopy than open knee surgery.
Sometimes it can be difficult to put weight on your leg for up to a week after surgery, so you may need some help to stand or walk. You will be given some exercises to do to help improve the strength in your knee. You should be able to get back to normal activities after six weeks, but this will depend on your procedure.
As with all surgical procedures, there can be some risks.
At the McIndoe Centre, we do everything we can to minimise risk of complications. Your surgeon will talk to you about any possible specific complications before you decide to have your operation.