Whenever possible, minimally invasive approaches, such as arthroscopy, are preferred for the treatment of knee conditions and injury. Used in both the general orthopaedic and sports medicine fields, arthroscopic techniques are reported to enable faster recovery times and reduced post-op discomfort. Based on the specifics of the knee damage, Dr. Greene will determine whether a minimally invasive approach will provide the level of relief and corrective benefit desired.
Understanding the Arthroscopic Approach
During an arthroscopic operation, small incisions will be placed on the surface of the knee, through which a miniature camera and tools will be inserted into the joint's interior. The surgical team will use the images broadcast to an in-room monitor for the purpose of diagnosing and/or correcting the injury.
As these techniques require less cutting than traditional open surgery, frequently reported benefits to knee arthroscopy include:
- Shorter hospital stay
- Reduced blood loss during surgery
- Faster recovery time
- Decreased pain and discomfort after surgery
When determining whether knee arthroscopy can be used, general health, body type, age, and other factors will be taken into account.
Conditions for Treatment
Arthroscopic techniques can be applied for the correction of a variety of knee conditions, including:
- Arthritic damage
- Ligament tears
- Meniscal tears and other cartilage damage
- Synovial tissue inflammation
The type, severity, and specific location of joint damage will be considered before completion of a knee arthroscopy procedure.
Optimally, all injury aspects will be identified and corrected during a single operation, avoiding the need for repeated procedures and extended recovery periods. However, if more comprehensive damage is found through the arthroscopic efforts, a more invasive follow-up operation may be required.
Knee Arthroscopy Surgery
Before surgery, Dr. Greene and his team will complete an in-depth patient examination, determining any factors that may impact procedural success. Focus will be placed on whether specific medications or behaviors should be stopped before surgery. In addition, blood tests and other diagnostic testes may be prescribed for surgical planning purposes.
On operation day, after anesthesia is applied, the typical knee arthroscopy will last 1-2 hours. Once the incisions are made, sterile solution will be used to clean the joint, allowing Dr. Greene to easily view the knee's interior. Small scissors, shavers, and other tools will be used to remove any damaged elements, as well as complete any mending efforts.
The incisions will be closed with steri-strips or sutures, and covered with a sterile bandage. Most patients are allowed to leave the hospital within hours of surgery.
Post-Op Care and Considerations
Although minimally invasive in nature, knee arthroscopy requires attentive post-op care to avoid joint re-injury. For up to 2 weeks following the surgery, it will be important to keep the incision area covered, avoiding the corruption of any sutures or stitches. Likewise, crutches or other support methods should be used to prevent undue pressure and weight from being placed on the joint.
Both at-home exercises and physical therapy visits will be arranged for the gradual and attentive recovery of knee function. To start, exercises will focus on regaining flexibility and full knee rotation, while strength training will be added after a few weeks time. Before advancing fitness efforts or undertaking other physical activities, medical clearance should be sought in order to avoid any setbacks to recovery.
While the risks associated with knee arthroscopy are minimal, any potential complications should be the focus of immediate medical attention.