Knee Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a key-hole surgical procedure that provides a clear view of the inside of the knee which allows the diagnosis and treatment of a number of common knee disorders.

The procedure is usually done as a day case and under general anaesthesia. It takes approximately 30 minutes. The incisions are very small and often do not require sutures. Local anaesthetic is put into the knee at the end of the procedure to ensure little or no post-operative pain. A wool and crepe bandage is applied. Most patients can fully weight bear after surgery (depending on the procedure), but crutches may be used for the first few days for support.

It is reasonable to expect that within six to eight weeks it should be possible to engage in most physical activities as long as they do not involve significant weight-bearing impact. Twisting manoeuvres may have to be avoided for a longer time.

Patients whose job involves heavy work may require more time prior to returning to work than if the job is sedentary. Office workers usually return to their jobs within a week or so; others with more physically depending duties may take a month or more.

Arthroscopy can be used to treat a number of conditions, including:

• Torn meniscal cartilage.
• Loose fragments of bone or cartilage.
• Damaged joint surfaces or softening of the articular cartilage known as chondromalacia.
• Inflammation of the synovial membrane, such as rheumatoid or gouty arthritis.
•Abnormal alignment or instability of the kneecap.
• Torn ligaments including the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments.

An arthroscopic view showing a small loose body.

An arthroscopic view showing a small loose body.

An arthroscopic view showing a small loose body.
An arthroscopic view showing a normal anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
An arthroscopic view showing a normal lateral meniscus.