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Dedicated to patient care, we utilise the latest arthroscopic and minimally invasive techniques for the management of all hip, knee and shoulder conditions; thereby facilitating the best recovery and outcome for patients from surgery.
Dedicated to patient care, we utilise the latest arthroscopic and minimally invasive techniques for the management of all hip, knee and shoulder conditions; thereby facilitating the best recovery and outcome for patients from surgery.

  • Shoulder Pain
  • Anterior Hip Replacement
  • ACL Reconstruction
  • Rotator Cuff Tear
  • Hip Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy

What is knee arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed through 2 small 5-10 mm incisions (i.e., keyhole surgery) using an advanced HD camera and special instruments to visualise and work inside the knee joint. Almost all aspects of knee conditions can be treated successfully with knee arthroscopy.

What conditions does knee arthroscopy treat?

This list is by no means exhaustive, but some of the common conditions treated include:

  • ACL rupture: ACL reconstruction is now a commonly performed arthroscopic procedure.
  • Meniscal tear: The meniscus is an important structure and can be repaired arthroscopically. If irreparable, the tear can be removed and the remnant stabilised.
  • PCL rupture: PCL reconstruction can also be performed arthroscopically.
  • Articular cartilage damage (early arthritis): If caught early, articular cartilage damage can be repaired and stabilised. Otherwise, unstable flaps can be removed and the underlying bone prepared to encourage new cartilage to form, a process known as ‘micro-fracture’.
  • Synovitis: Inflamed tissue around the knee can be removed (i.e., synovectomy).
  • Loose body: Bone, cartilage or any other loose tissue can be removed to prevent ongoing damage to the knee.
  • Biopsy: Tissue specimens can be taken to aid in the diagnosis of certain conditions.
  • Washouts: For the treatment of knee infections

What are the benefits of knee arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive approach resulting in less tissue damage, less pain, less blood loss, and faster recovery and return of function. Depending on the procedure performed, most patients are allowed to immediately weight-bear and walk, and can go off crutches as soon as they are able. Knee arthroscopy is usually performed as a “day-case” (i.e., going home on the same day). Some procedures may require patients to stay overnight.

What are the risks of knee arthroscopy?

Complications are not common, but can occur. Prior to making any decision to have surgery, it is important that you understand the potential risks so that you can make an informed decision regarding the advantages and disadvantages of surgery. The following list is by no means exhaustive, so it is important to discuss your concerns with your surgeon.

Specific risks of knee arthroscopy:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Nerve or vessel damage: There are small nerves under the skin that cannot be avoided; cutting them may lead to areas of numbness in the front of the knee. This area of numbness normally reduces in size with time and does not cause any functional problems with the knee. Very rarely, there can be damage to important nerves or vessels deep in the leg.
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: This is an extremely rare condition that is not entirely understood, but can cause unexplained, and excessive pain and stiffness after surgery (or even after trivial injury).

Other general surgical risks include risk of infection, bleeding and clots in the leg (DVT) or lung postoperatively.

Apart from surgical risks, medical (including allergies) and anaesthetic complications can occur, and these can affect your general well-being and health.

FAQ

When can I walk after knee arthroscopy?

Full weight-bearing and walking is allowed immediately after knee arthroscopy. Initially, this will be aided by crutches, but once you regain strength and mobility, the crutches can be discarded. If a meniscal repair is performed, a period of protected weight-bearing may be required.

When can I drive after knee arthroscopy?

You should not drive for 48 hours after an anaesthetic. After 48 hours, your ability to drive will depend on the side you had your operation, left or right, and the type of vehicle you drive, manual or automatic. You can drive whenever you feel comfortable.

When can I return to work after knee arthroscopy?

Your return to work will vary depending on the procedure performed and type of work you are engaged in. Most people can return to office work within 1 week. Labour intensive work however, may require you to take 2-3 weeks before returning to full duties.

When can I play after knee arthroscopy?

For standard knee arthroscopies, you can recommence leisure activities or sports when the wound has healed, the knee swelling subsided and range of movement is restored. This usually takes 2 weeks following a meniscectomy alone. If a meniscal repair was performed, it is best to delay leisure activities or sports for 6 weeks, thus allowing the meniscus time to heal and repair. The rehabilitation following an ACL reconstruction is more complex and return to sports is usually delayed.

How long will I take to heal after knee arthroscopy?

The wounds take 7-10 days to heal. Most patients improve dramatically in the first 2 weeks. Occasionally, there are periods where the knee may become sore and then settle again. This is part of the normal healing process. If a meniscal repair is performed, it can take 3 months for the meniscus to heal fully. An ACL reconstruction is more involved (see ACL).

How much pain will I experience after knee arthroscopy?

Most patients are pleasantly surprised at how little pain they have after surgery. This is because a local anaesthetic is injected around the wound during the procedure and it is performed arthroscopically (i.e., keyhole surgery), which is less invasive. You will be provided with adequate analgesics to take at home.

What are the risks of having knee arthroscopy?

Complications are not common, but can occur. Prior to making any decision to have surgery, it is important that you understand the potential risks so that you can make an informed decision regarding the advantages and disadvantages of surgery. The following list is by no means exhaustive, so it is important to discuss your concerns with your your surgeon.

Specific risks of knee arthroscopy:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Nerve or vessel damage: There are small nerves under the skin that cannot be avoided; cutting them may lead to areas of numbness in the front of the knee. This area of numbness normally reduces in size with time and does not cause any functional problems with the knee. Very rarely, there can be damage to important nerves or vessels deep in the leg.
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: This is an extremely rare condition that is not entirely understood, but can cause unexplained, and excessive pain and stiffness after surgery (or even after trivial injury).

Other general surgical risks include risk of infection, bleeding and clots in the leg (DVT) or lung postoperatively.

Apart from surgical risks, medical (including allergies) and anaesthetic complications can occur, and these can affect your general well-being and health.

Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Hip Knee Shoulder FAORTHA FRACSInternational Society for Hip Arthroscopy

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