Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows orthopedic surgeons to look inside your knee with a tiny camera called an arthroscope. This allows them to see exactly what’s causing any pain or other symptoms that you’re having. In some cases, during the same procedure, a knee specialist can insert other instruments through small incisions around the knee to repair the damage they see.
Why Use Knee Arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy is often used to diagnose or help diagnose problems in the knee. The camera they use transmits the pictures to a monitor in the operating room so the surgeon can see what the issue is. In the past, the only way to do that was through imaging like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs or through highly invasive exploratory surgery. Arthroscopy can be performed with incisions the size of a buttonhole, and the recovery time is typically much shorter in comparison to traditional surgery.
Common Conditions Treated With Knee Arthroscopy
Knee arthroscopy can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
If the meniscus, which comprises two C-shaped floating cartilage discs, is torn, the surgeon can remove the torn bits, so they don’t cause more problems than you’re already experiencing. For example, if the torn cartilage floats into your joint, you may have trouble bending or straightening your knee.
If the cartilage on the end of the femur or tibia is significantly damaged, a cartilage reconstruction may be able to restore the knee to full functionality. The surgeon will take small pieces of cartilage from a non-weight-bearing section of the knee and transplant it to the damaged area.
Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), or Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
ACL, PCL, and MCL tears are common among athletes who have to stop, start, and switch directions quickly. Football and basketball players and down-hill slalom skiers often need knee arthroscopy to repair their ACL, PCL, or MCL with a tendon taken from another part of their knee.
Your synovium is a membrane that serves up lubrication and nourishment for your knee by creating synovial fluid. However, the synovium can become inflamed and irritated. Knee arthroscopy may be used to remove those pieces of the synovium that are causing pain and swelling.
This type of cyst, also known as a Baker’s cyst, causes fluid-filled bumps on the back of your knee. Underlying causes include arthritis, injury, or inflammation.
Anesthesia Options for Knee Arthroscopy
Different orthopedic surgeons take different approaches to anesthesia for knee arthroscopy. Some will use local anesthesia that just blocks pain to your knee. Others use an epidural to create regional anesthesia, numbing you from the waist down. And some surgeons prefer general anesthesia, which puts you to sleep for the arthroscopy.
Why Choose North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic for Your Knee Arthroscopy?
At North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic, our world-class orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Louis C. Almekinders, MD, heads up our sports medicine department. He is well-versed in knee arthroscopy, and you can feel confident that you’re in good hands should he determine that you need this surgical procedure. If you have knee pain or swelling, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly-trained doctors to see if knee arthroscopy might be right for you.