Empire Physiotherapy

Knee Arthroscopy

Summary of Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is keyhole surgery around the knee, which allows the surgeon to investigate inside the knee and treat a variety of problems where possible. This process allows for a quicker recovery, is less painful and carries less risk of infection.

Knee Arthroscopy FAQ's

Arthroscopy is more commonly known as key surgery, and is performed under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic depending on the individual and the problem. Once the anaesthetic of choice has taken effect, small incisions are made in the knee area and sterile fluid is pumped in. The small telescope is inserted into a second incision with a video camera attached, giving the surgeon a direct view of the inside of the knee joint to determine any damage. After examination, the surgeon may be able to treat or repair injury through a third incision, and finally the cuts can be stitched up or closed up with adhesive strips.
Injuries related to work, sports, arthritis or wear and tear can cause inflammation, pain and diminished mobility within the knee joint. Arthroscopy provides a clear picture of the knee as a whole, allowing a surgeon to determine whether other types of surgery may be beneficial. It can also be used a process to wash out the knee joint, repaid damaged ligaments, trim and remove tears to cartilage, and remove loose fragments of bone or cartilage.
Knee arthroscopy is an outpatient procedure and so you will likely be sent home on the same day. For the first 48-72 hours you may be asked to perform RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Your surgeon may also advise the use of crutches during movement to assist your knee with weight bearing strain. Gradually this will ease and you will be able to rely on the knee by itself.
An arthroscopy of the knee is often performed because of pain and reduced mobility, and so it is likely the muscles around the ankle will have become weakened due to lack of exercise. The likelihood is, if the arthroscopy was successful, you will be able to increase mobility again and exercise the muscles. Your therapist will recommend which exercises are best for you condition, including what you can and cannot do.
It can take a few weeks to restore completely normal function of the knee after the surgery. Follow your clinician’s advice, gradually introducing activity and weight bearing until you feel confident moving around normally. It is also important that you make sure you are fully competent to drive again, before getting behind the wheel.