Knee arthroscopy is a technique where many different knee pathologies can be addressed and fixed through two small incisions in the front of the knee. The incisions are less than half an inch in size and are used to introduce a camera into the joint. Specialized instrumentation can then be introduced to remove or repair a torn meniscus, debride arthritis, remove a loose body, or repair a torn ligament such as the ACL.
Although there are many conservative treatments that may be employed prior to undergoing knee arthroscopy, the indications for such treatment have broadened as technology continues to improve. It is advantageous to use a surgeon proficient with this technology as the incisions are smaller, muscle damage is minimized, and recovery may be faster.
All surgeries require careful planning. This begins from the moment a patient is seen in consultation. There are many health factors that are taken into consideration before surgery in order to minimize the chance of complications and improve outcomes. There are often medical conditions that require further treatment by an internist or specialist prior to surgery. We believe that a comprehensive approach to patient care is the best way to achieve a healthy and functional recovery.
The surgeons at Florida Joint Care Institute use cutting edge digital X-rays and will review further imaging such as an MRI in order to effectively plan each surgery. Careful planning ensures that all knee problems may be appropriately addressed at the time of surgery.
Although the surgery is performed through small incisions, the recovery varies depending upon the exact type of surgery performed. Arthroscopy performed for a meniscus tear or damaged cartilage typically involves immediate weight bearing with physical therapy beginning the day afterwards. Most daily activities including light work duty may be resumed within several days of the surgery. The majority of recovery is completed within the first six weeks.
If arthroscopy is used to reconstruct a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) then crutches are used for the first two weeks. Physical therapy still begins the day after surgery and continues though a carefully constructed protocol to maximize return to sports. Once strength and endurance return, then an athlete is cleared to return to sports typically six months after the surgery.
Although knee arthroscopy technology has been refined over several decades, and outcomes are better than ever, there are unique risks inherent to the operation. With careful planning these risks are minimized but it is important to have this discussion with your surgeon prior to the operation to be appropriately informed. By understanding these risks and expectations of benefits, our patients are able to achieve the best outcomes possible.