What is a Knee arthroscopy?
An Knee arthroscopy is a procedure whereby the knee is visualised and a procedure performed, via tiny incisions in the skin. Through one of the ‘portals’ that is created through a 4-5mm incision, a specialised tiny camera is inserted into the joint to allow direct visualisation of the anatomy and any conditions that require treatment. A further ‘portal’ is used to pass specialised instruments inside the joint to manage the specific condition.
What are the benefits of knee arthroscopy?
There are many benefits to performing surgical procedures via keyhole techniques. These may include:
- Minimal scars
- Rapid rehabilitation
- Minimal soft tissue dissection
- Earlier recovery
- Minimal bleeding
- Early discharge home
What conditions can be managed via keyhole surgery?
Knee arthroscopy has revolutionised orthopaedic surgery. There are many orthopaedic conditions where knee arthroscopy plays a role in the treatment
A meniscus tear is one of the most common reasons for performing a knee arthroscopy. In a partial meniscectomy, the unstable torn part of the meniscus tear is removed through this keyhole day procedure. Rapid rehabilitation follows.
When possible, the meniscus tear is repaired using an arthroscopic technique. This typically results in the use of small sutures and anchor configuration to re-establish the meniscus function. Depending on the location of the tear, this may require the use of crutches and/or a brace after the repair is performed.
An ACL reconstruction uses a knee arthroscopy as part of the procedure. The reconstruction itself is performed via keyhole arthroscopy. A separate incision is required to harvest the ACL graft from either a hamstring tendon, or part of the patella tendon.
Management of cartilage loss
There are various techniques used to ‘restore’ cartilage to the knee. The majority of these include a knee arthroscopy to assess and manage the cartilage defect.
Assessment of suitability for tibial osteotomy or partial knee replacement
A tibial osteotomy or partial knee replacement may be indicated in patients who have localised arthritis to only one of the compartments in the knee joint. Sometimes a knee arthroscopy is required to confirm the integrity of the remaining cartilage.
What happens on the day of the procedure?
When a knee arthroscopy is performed in isolation, it is typically done as a day procedure.
You will turn up to the hospital 1-2 hours prior to the procedure, and change into theatre attire. The anaesthetist will introduce themselves to you, and discuss the anaesthetic options.
The procedure involves making two tiny (4-5mm) incisions at the front of the knee. Once the condition has been address, typically no sutures are required. A bandage is applied over the knee and you are able to walk immediately.
When you go home, you can remove the bandage after 3 days, but please keep the dressings that are on below, until your review.