Arthroscopy Knee Surgery

Arthroscopy or ‘keyhole’ surgery is a common procedure used by Knee Specialists as part of their assessment or treatment of knee conditions. It is a fairly simple and straightforward procedure and is viewed as a minimally invasive technique, which is why it is so popular.

Some of the more complex orthopaedic surgery procedures are often referred to as ‘arthroscopically assisted’. This simply means that your surgeon will use keyhole techniques to help examine or treat the problem area. Arthroscopically assisted knee surgery causes the minimum amount of damage to your connective tissues. This type of surgery is frequently more successful with a much quicker recovery time because of the minimally invasive techniques used.

How is Arthroscopy Surgery Performed?

A knee arthroscopy is usually performed as a day case procedure. It lasts between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on what your surgeon finds when he looks at the inside of your knee. A knee arthroscopy is a small surgical procedure in which your surgeon inserts a small camera (an arthroscopy) into your knee. The camera is inserted through a 1cm puncture wound and the images are assessed on a TV screen. Your surgeon will be able to view any abnormalities and treat them using fine, narrow instruments. These instruments are inserted through one or two further puncture wounds.

Arthroscopic view of an acute PCL rupture.

A knee arthroscopy is generally used for smaller surgeries, such as removing or repairing a piece of torn meniscus or tidying up worn areas of joint articulating surface. This procedure is also commonly used for removing loose fragments of bone or cartilage that can cause locking or catching of the knee joint.

Patients are usually given a spinal anaesthetic but you can also opt for a general anaesthetic.

Arthroscopic Surgery Recovery

Once you have had arthroscopic surgery, you may be asked to stay overnight in hospital depending upon your medical condition, or you may be discharged. Your knee will have a padded bandage around it so as to protect the area, but to also help reduce the amount of movement initially. You will still be able to straighten and bend the knee with the bandage in place, and it is advisable to place some weight upon the knee and to walk as soon as possible. Initially, to help aid recovery from knee arthroscopy, you will be asked to keep the knee elevated when not walking around and perhaps use ice packs to help reduce swelling and control any pain you may experience. The aim is to recover stability and strength of the affected area quickly, while preventing build up of scar tissue. Your surgeon will have engaged the assistance of a Physiotherapist who will take you through a series of exercise as part of the rehabilitation process. It is important to start the recovery process as quickly as possible. As a general rule, you can expect to return to full movement of the knee within a matter of weeks.

Surgery Consultation Process

As with all surgical procedures, Mr Guido Geutjens, Specialist Knee Surgeon, takes all of his patients through a thorough examination and diagnosis process before any surgical procedure is performed. Mr Geutjens will always ensure that a surgical approach is the most appropriate option and will fully explain the benefits and risks involved with any surgical procedure before proceeding.

  • Q1 Why would I have to undergo a knee arthroscopy?

    A knee arthroscopy or ‘keyhole surgery’ is performed for a number of reasons.

    1. If a scan or X-ray is unable to give an accurate diagnosis, your surgeon may require you to undergo a knee arthroscopy.
    2. Arthroscopy is also used to carry out surgical procedures and is commonly used as it less invasive that open surgical procedures and therefore more beneficial for the patient.
  • Q2 Will I be awake during a knee arthroscopy?

    If you need to undergo an arthroscopy procedure then you will usually be admitted to hospital as a day patient. The procedure usually last between 15 to 45 minutes and you can either opt to have a spinal block, in which case you will be conscious throughout the procedure, or you can choose to have a general anaesthetic.