Knee arthroscopy is keyhole surgery performed on the knee. It is suitable for the treatment of torn cartilages, loose bodies, debris in the knee and treating areas of localised osteoarthritis.
Knee arthroscopy is performed as a day case and patients are up walking for approximately an hour after the operation. It is performed under general anaesthetic because full muscle relaxation of the leg is required and being able to manipulate it to see in all compartments of the knee.
The operation is normally performed through two 1 cm incisions either side of the kneecap. After the operation there are normally two stitches in each of the small portals and a bulky crepe dressing. This is kept on for 48 hours and then can be removed. The patient is provided with an elasticated tubigrip which is used for support during the day for the next one to two weeks. The stitches are removed at seven days, the patient can shower if a waterproof plaster is placed over each stitch.
Most patients are able to return to driving within a few days of surgery and get back to most activities by two weeks. A full recovery including a return to sport and manual work can take six to twelve weeks depending on the nature of surgery and what was found and how it was treated.
Knee arthroscopy is a safe and successful operation and the risks are small. The risks include the small risks of a general anaesthetic and infection - this is why the operation is carried out in theatre, damage to blood vessels and nerves and DVT.
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