Arthroscopy is a common surgical intervention in which joints are viewed from inside with help of small cameras. Arthroscopy allows surgeons a clear view of inside of joints, including the knee joint. Arthroscopic knee procedure is an extremely helpful method of diagnosing & treating problems of the knee joint. Technological advances in arthroscopy have led this surgical procedure to high resolution cameras & high definition monitors. These & many other relative improvements have made arthroscopy knee surgery a very effective tool for treating various knee problems. Therefore, it is no surprise that more than 4 million arthroscopies of the knee are performed worldwide every year.
Arthroscopy procedure is typically performed through small incisions. Orthopedic surgeons will insert the arthroscope, containing a small camera which is about the size of a pencil, into the joint of the patient which is to be operated. Subsequently, the arthroscope will send images of the inside of the joint to a television monitor. Surgeons can see structures of the joint in great detail on the monitor through this arrangement. Orthopedic surgeons effectively use arthroscopy to feel, repair & remove damaged tissue of problematic joints. For this purpose, small surgical instruments are also inserted through other minimal incisions which are made around the joint.
Knee arthroscopy is a specialized surgical technique which is designed to diagnose & treat problems which are associated with the knee joint. Orthopedic surgeons for this purpose will make a small incision & insert a tiny camera called arthroscope within the knee of the patient. This will allow the surgeon to view inside of the knee joint on a computer monitor. Following this, the orthopedic surgeon will investigate the problem with the knee joint & if necessary, will correct the issue with small surgical instruments designed for this purpose. Arthroscopy effectively diagnoses several knee problems including torn misaligned patella (kneecap) or a torn meniscus. This procedure is also capable of repairing ligaments of the joints. Moreover, there are limited risks associated with arthroscopic knee surgery & the outlook of this procedure is good for most patients undergoing this surgical intervention. Time for recovery & prognosis of knee arthroscopy will however depend upon severity of knee problem & complexity of the required intervention.
Doctors most often recommend patients to undergo knee arthroscopy when they are experiencing knee pain. Either doctors have already diagnosed the condition causing knee pain, or they may order patients to undergo knee arthroscopy in order to help find diagnosis. In both of these situations, knee arthroscopy is a very useful method to confirm source of knee pain & for treatment of the problem.
Arthroscopic knee surgery can diagnose & treat a variety of knee problems including the following.
When patients have decided to undergo knee arthroscopy, they may need to undergo a complete physical examination with their family physician prior to undergoing surgery. Doctors will also assess their health & identify if there are any problems which could interfere with their surgical intervention. Knee arthroscopy surgery patients must let their orthopedic surgeons know about all medications & supplements they are presently taking. Doctors will in turn tell them as to which medicines patients must stop taking prior to undergoing surgery. Orthopedic surgeons may also order patients to take some preoperative tests & which can help them plan the procedure. Some of these tests may include EKG – electrocardiograms & blood counts.
Almost all arthroscopic knee surgeries are performed as an outpatient procedure.
Anesthesiologists will help patients decide as to which method would best suit their case. In case patients are having local or regional anesthesia, they may be able to witness the procedure on a television monitor.
Surgeons will usually close incisions with stitches or steri-strips & finally cover them with soft bandage. Arthroscopic knee surgery patients will then be moved to the recovery room & are able to go home after 1 – 2 hours of monitoring. However, patients must ensure that they have arranged for someone to drive them back home.
Though they are rare, there are risks which are invariably associated with all types of surgery, including the following.
Recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery is much faster when compared to traditional open knee surgery. However, it is still important that patients carefully follow instructions given by orthopedic surgeons after returning home. Patients should also ask for someone to be at home with them on the first night following surgery.
Arthroscopic knee surgery patients are typically able to drive between 1 – 3 weeks following the procedure.
Unless patients have undergone ligament reconstruction treatment, they should be able to return to most normal physical activities within 6 – 8 weeks of time, or even sooner in some cases. However, high-impact activities must be avoided for a longer period of time. Patients must moreover talk to surgeons before returning to intense physical activities involving the knee. Patients whose job involves heavy working will require a longer period of time before they can return to the job. Patients must therefore discuss with doctors as to when it is safer for them to return to work. Final outcome of arthroscopic knee surgery will most likely be determined by the degree of damage which was treated in the first place. Like for example, in cases where articular cartilage in knee has completely worn away, full recovery may not be possible. Instead it would be better for such patients to change their lifestyle. This will also mean that they must limit their activities & find low-impact exercises as an alternative option.
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