Knee arthroscopy is a surgical technique that can diagnose and treat problems in the knee joint. During the procedure, your surgeon will make a very small incision and insert a tiny camera — called an arthroscope — into your knee. This allows them to view the inside of the joint on a screen. The surgeon can then investigate a problem with the knee and, if necessary, correct the issue using small instruments within the arthroscope.
Just an awkward twist when getting up from a chair may be enough to cause a tear, if the menisci have weakened with age.
At a Glance | FAQ
Risks and Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery
Y o u r s u r g e o n h a s recommended you to have an Arthroscopy for you knee. It is however your decision to go ahead with the surgery and the further information in this leaflet may help you decide. If you have any questions that this leaflet does not answer you should ask your surgeon or any member of the health team. Just because your knee hurts it does not mean an arthroscopy is indicated. Your surgeon will consider your symptoms and examine your knee. An ordinary X-ray is usually performed. A MRI scan can be helpful and if normal it is rare that an arthroscopy will be helpful to y o u . If t h e r e a r e tr u e mechanical features in your knee i.e. locking, giving way. jamming. it is more likely a problem such as a torn cartilage can be identified and put right.
What are the benefits ?
The main benefit is to find out exactly what your problem is and in most cases treat the problem at the same time. It allows the surgeon to look inside all areas of the joint without a big incision. With keyhole surgery there is a lower risk of complications and a quicker recovery
What will happen if I don’t have the surgery ?
Problems inside the knee vary — some may improve with time, some will stay the same and some problems will continue to get worse. You can ask your surgeon whether your particular problem will progress.
R. R.I.C.E. guidelines
Protect: Use of elbow crutches as pain allows (see below)
Rest: When resting your leg make sure your knee is straight. Do not rest the back of your knee over a pillow
Ice: Apply ice for 20 minutes to reduce swelling. Always place the ice pack over a damp cloth to protect your skin from an ice burn.
Compression : Keep your tubigrip in place for walking if your knee is swollen.
Elevation: When resting your leg, elevate it ensuring your whole leg is supported. Elevation should be to the level of your heart or above.
Physiotherapy and exercises
You will be seen by a physiotherapist before your operation to demonstrate the use of elbow crutches, practice some exercises and safe stairs technique (see overleaf).
Returning to work
Return to work is dependent on the nature of your occupation. If your job involves sitting for the majority of the day, you can return within a week. If your job is physically demanding and involves heavy manual work or standing for long periods, then two to six weeks off work may be necessary depending on your recovery.
In the initial period after your operation, it is more effective to take your painkillers regularly, as they have been prescribed.
Returning to sport
This depends on the sport you wish to participate in, and if you think you are recovering well. If unsure, delay your return. The following are recommendations, you should consult your orthopaedic surgeon if you have any specific questions.
Two weeks - return to the gym.
6 - 12 weeks - return to racquet sports , football/rugby, climbing, snowboarding/skiing and golf.
Once you return to competitive activities, you are advised to participate at a lower level for one to two months. A good warm-up is advisable to help prevent reinjury to the knee
Usually One day stay.