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Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Anatomy

The knee joint is one of the most complex joints of the body. The lower end of the thighbone (femur) meets the upper end of the shinbone (tibia) at the knee joint. A small bone called the patella (kneecap) rests on a groove on the front of the femoral end. Another bone of the lower leg (fibula) forms a joint with the shinbone.

To allow smooth and painless motion of the knee joint, articular surfaces of these bones are covered with a shiny white slippery articular cartilage. Two C-shaped cartilaginous menisci are present in between the femoral end and the tibial end.

Menisci act as shock absorbers, providing cushion to the joints. They also play an important role in providing stability and load-bearing to the knee joint.

Bands of tissue, including the cruciate and collateral ligaments, keep the different bones of the knee joint together and provide stabilization to the joint. Surrounding muscles are connected to the knee bones by tendons. The bones work together with the muscles and tendons to provide mobility to the knee joint. The whole knee joint is covered by a ligamentous capsule, which further stabilizes the joint. This ligamentous capsule is also lined with a synovial membrane that secretes synovial fluid for lubrication.

What is Knee Arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure performed using an arthroscope, a viewing instrument, to diagnose or treat a knee problem. It is a relatively safe procedure and you will usually be discharged from the hospital on the same day of surgery.

Indications for Knee Arthroscopy

The knee joint is vulnerable to a variety of injuries. The most common knee problems where knee arthroscopy may be recommended for diagnosis and treatment are:

Knee Arthroscopy Procedure

Knee arthroscopy is performed under local, spinal or general anesthesia.

The repair procedure may include any of the following:

After the repair, the knee joint is carefully examined for bleeding or any other damage. The saline is then drained from the knee joint. Finally, the incisions are closed with sutures or steri-strips, and the knee is covered with a sterile dressing.

Postoperative Care Following Knee Arthroscopy

You are most often discharged on the same day of your knee arthroscopy. Pain medicines are prescribed to manage pain. Crutches or a knee brace may be recommended for several weeks. A rehabilitation program may also be advised for a successful recovery. Therapeutic exercises aim to restore motion and strengthen the muscles of the leg and knee.

Recovery after Knee Arthroscopy

Recovery after the surgery depends on the type of procedure performed. Recovery from simple procedures is often fast. Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than that from an open knee surgery.

Risks and Complications of Knee Arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is a safe procedure; complications are very rare. Complications specific to knee arthroscopy include bleeding in the knee joint, infection, knee stiffness, blood clots or continuing knee problems.

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