How Is Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Performed?

When pain resulting from knee injuries isn't responsive to conservative treatment, physicians may recommend surgery to alleviate the symptoms. Knee arthroscopy is usually recommended for its minimally invasive approach and faster healing time

Arthroscopic knee surgery is used for several reparative operations, including:

  • Repairing or removing torn menisci
  • Ligament reconstruction
  • Removing frayed articular cartilage
  • Bone debridement
  • Removing inflamed synovial membranes
  • Kneecap (patellar) realignment

Leading up to the procedure, patients will be instructed to limit certain medications like blood thinners and other aspects that may interfere with the surgery. The operation is carried out using local, regional or general anesthesia, so the patient doesn't encounter discomfort. 

After stabilizing the joint, the operating physician will make several small incisions around the knee. Next, he inserts a narrow and long tube with a camera and light source known as an arthroscope to inspect the area internally. For a better view, a saline solution may be injected to provide more room for the arthroscope to maneuver. 

When good imaging of the damage is achieved, the operating physician will insert small specialized tools through the incisions that will allow him to perform the required repairs. After carefully examining the repaired area for damage or bleeding, the tools are removed, and the saline solution is drained from the knee. After the incisions are closed with sutures, the procedure is complete, and the wounds are covered with a clean dressing. 

Knee arthroscopy is a safe procedure with generally good outcomes and usually takes around 1 hour to complete. Since it's performed on an outpatient basis, individuals typically return home on the same day and begin focusing on their recovery.