WHAT IS KNEE ARTHROSCOPY?
Arthroscopy is a procedure that allows a surgeon to look inside joints and repair them without having to cut open the joint. Orthopedic surgeons are bone, joint, and muscle specialists who do this surgery.
WHEN IS IT USED?
This procedure is used to find the cause of pain, swelling, tenderness, or weakness in your knee and repair any damage to the knee.
Examples of alternatives are:
· Limit your activity.
· Take anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medicines can cause stomach bleeding, kidney problems, and other problems. Take the medicine as directed. Read and follow all label directions. NSAIDs should not be taken for more than 10 days for pain or 3 days for fever. They should not be taken for other reasons unless recommended by your primary care provider.
· Wear a brace.
· Have physical therapy.
· Have open knee surgery.
· Have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
· Choose not to have treatment, recognizing the risks of your condition.
You should ask your primary care provider about these choices.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR KNEE ARTHROSCOPY?
Plan for your care and recovery after the operation, especially if you are to have general anesthesia. Allow for time to rest and try to find people to help you with your day-to-day duties.
Follow any instructions your primary care provider may give you. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight or the morning before the procedure. Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water after midnight. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE PROCEDURE?
You are given anesthesia before the arthroscopy to prevent you from feeling pain. A tube about the size of a straw, called an arthroscope, is inserted into a small cut near the joint. The arthroscope has a light on it as well as a magnifying lens. A tiny camera is attached so the surgeon can see inside your knee. Other small tools can be inserted into other small cuts to repair the joint. During surgery, the primary care provider may find and fix loose material in the knee or a tear in the cartilage or ligaments. If the problem cannot be fixed with this procedure, you may need open knee surgery.
After the procedure the primary care provider will close the small openings with one or two stitches or sticky tape.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
· You can go home the day of the procedure.
· You should take it easy for at least the next 2 or 3 days.
· Raise your leg, with your foot higher than your knee and your knee higher than your hip.
· Start bending the knee as soon as possible.
· Take an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen, or other medicine as directed by your primary care provider. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your primary care provider, do not take for more than 10 days.
· Use your crutches until you can walk without pain.
· Do light strengthening exercises if instructed to do so by your primary care provider.
· Ask your primary care provider when you can resume full activity. Your recovery time will depend on what was done and how much arthritis you have in your knee.
Ask your primary care provider what other steps you should take and when you should come back for a checkup.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND BENEFITS?
· There are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your primary care provider.
· A local or regional anesthetic may not numb the area quite enough and you may feel some minor discomfort. Also, in rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the drug used in this type of anesthesia. Local or regional anesthesia is considered safer than general anesthesia in people who are older or have certain medical conditions.
· You may get a blood clot in your leg.
· Nerve injury can occur, causing numbness around the small incisions.
· During repair of the cartilage, nerve or artery damage can occur, which can cause numbness, weakness, or pain in your leg and foot. This rarely happens.
· Infection and bleeding may occur.
You should ask your primary care provider how these risks apply to you.
The recovery for arthroscopy is faster than if a full open incision were made to correct or diagnose the problem. Most people do very well after arthroscopy and have a rapid recovery.
WHEN SHOULD I SEE MY PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER?
See your primary care provider immediately if:
· There is excessive drainage from the puncture sites.
· There is unusual pain in your knee.
· You develop swelling in your calf or thigh that is not relieved by elevating your leg.
· You develop a fever.
See your primary care provider during office hours if:
· You have questions about the procedure or its result.
· You want to make another appointment.