What is Arthroscopy Of Your Knee?


Know the basics

What is Arthroscopy Of Your Knee?

An arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) allows your surgeon to see inside your knee using a camera inserted through small cuts on your skin. It allows your surgeon to diagnose and treat some common problems affecting your knee, without the need for a large cut on your skin.  Your surgeon can diagnose problems such as a torn cartilage, ligament damage and arthritis.

This may reduce the amount of pain you feel and speed up your recovery.

Why is Arthroscopy Of Your Knee performed?

The aim is to confirm exactly what the problem is and for many people the problem can be treated at the same time. Arthroscopy may be recommended for these knee problems:

  • Torn meniscus. Meniscus is cartilage that cushions the space between the bones in the knee. Surgery is done to repair or remove it.
  • Torn or damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
  • Swollen (inflamed) or damaged lining of the joint. This lining is called the synovium.
  • Kneecap (patella) that is out of position (misalignment).
  • Small pieces of broken cartilage in the knee joint.
  • Removal of Baker’s cyst. This is a swelling behind the knee that is filled with fluid. Sometimes the problem occurs when there is swelling and pain (inflammation) from other causes, like arthritis.
  • Some fractures of the bones of the knee.

Understand the risks

What are the risks of Arthroscopy Of Your Knee?

If your job involves heavy work, it may be longer before you can return to your job. Discuss when you can safely return to work with your doctor.

The final outcome of your surgery will likely be determined by the degree of damage to your knee. For example, if the articular cartilage in your knee has worn away completely, then full recovery may not be possible. You may need to change your lifestyle. This might mean limiting your activities and finding low-impact exercise alternative.

Some complications that you should watch out for include:

  • Damage to nerves around your knee;
  • Developing a lump under your wound;
  • Infection in your knee joint;
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your knee (complex regional pain syndrome).

If you are concern about the risks of arthroscopy, you could discuss with your doctor about other treatments, for example, a magnetic scan (MRI scan) can also diagnose the problem, but you may then need an arthroscopy to treat the problem.

It is important you understand the risks and complications before having this surgery. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.

Know what happens

How do I prepare for Arthroscopy Of Your Knee?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. You should be given clear instructions to follow before the operation, including whether you can eat anything in the hours leading up to it. In most cases, you should start fasting about six hours before your procedure. You may be able to drink fluids, such as coffee, until a few hours before your surgery.

What happens during Arthroscopy Of Your Knee?

The operation usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.

Your surgeon will examine the inside of your knee. They will wash out any loose material caused by wear of the joint surfaces. It is usually possible for your surgeon to trim or repair a torn cartilage without needing to make a larger cut.

If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.


What happens after Arthroscopy Of Your Knee?

You should be able to go home the same day. It is common for your knee to be a little swollen for a few weeks. Walking can be uncomfortable.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a good recovery and can return to normal activities. Your surgeon will be able to tell you if you are likely to get further problems with your knee.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: September 6, 2018 | Last Modified: September 6, 2018

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