Knee Arthroscopy

Knee ArthroscopyHow is it done?

A telescope with a video camera mounted is put in through two small cuts at the front of the knee.  The arthroscope is 5 mm in diameter and the cuts are about 5 – 7 mm long.

What does it achieve?

Removing torn bits of meniscus reliably gets of pain from that source. Removing loose bits of articular cartilage can often help with osteoarthritis, but is not completely reliable.  Loose bodies inside the joint can be removed.

Complications

Knee Arthroscopy

This operation has a low complication rate. The main one is infection, but it occurs less than 1% of the time.

Recovery

Arthroscopy is usually done as a day case (in and out the same day).  Some people are back at work within a couple of days, though usually back at office-type work by 2 – 3 weeks and most sorts of work by 6 weeks.  If you had a normal knee arthroscoped, it takes 6 – 12 months to get back to doing everything without noticing your knee.

ACL reconstruction

ACL RuptureHow is it done?

A knee arthroscopy is performed and any meniscal tears or damaged articular cartilage removed.  An incision about 5 cm long is made just below the knee and the hamstring tendons are removed.  Holes are drilled through the bone below the knee and the bone above the knee.  The hamstring tendon graft is placed up through the knee in the position that the anterior cruciate ligament used to be in.  It is fixed in place with plastic bioabsorbable pin (above the knee) and screw (below the knee).

What does it achieve?

ACL GraftIt removes the abnormal movement possible when the anterior cruciate ligament is ruptured.  It restores stability to an unstable knee.

Complications

This procedure is relatively complication free, but has more complications than a knee arthroscopy.  Infection occurs less than 1% of the time.  The graft may rupture.  Some patients will develop stiffness.

Recovery

In hospital overnight.  Begin muscle strengthening exercises immediately. Splint and crutches 1 – 2 weeks.  Usual return to work about 6 weeks.  Full recovery 1 year.