Arthroscopy of the knee

What is a knee arthroscopy?

A knee arthroscopy, also known as key-hole surgery, is a procedure which enables Dr Kennedy to carefully examine and often treat the inside of the knee joint without the patient having to undergo major invasive surgery. An arthroscope, a thin fibre-optic telescope with a camera, is inserted into the knee joint via a small incision so that all parts of the joint can be examined. Depending on the diagnosis, Dr Kennedy may be able to treat or repair an abnormality or injury during the same procedure.

When is knee arthroscopy surgery recommended?

Knee arthroscopy surgery is the most common form of knee surgery for acute injuries and may be performed to treat persistent pain or catching or locking within the joint:

  • Treatment (removal) or repair of torn meniscal cartilages.
  • Removing loose pieces of bone and / or cartilage.
  • Releasing excessively tight bands of tissue.
  • Removing an inflamed knee joint lining (synovitis).
  • Reducing the roughness of damaged articular cartilage (chondroplasty).

Knee arthroscopy surgery is not usually effective for the treatment of osteoarthritis itself. It can occasionally be performed to alleviate the pain caused by associated problems such as large displaced cartilage tears and loose pieces of bone or cartilage.

What does knee arthroscopy surgery involve?

Knee arthroscopy surgery is usually carried out as day surgery under a general anaesthetic. It is not usually especially painful. Usually three or four very short “stab” incisions are used and these will usually be closed with a single suture.

How long will it take to recover from knee arthroscopy surgery?

Most people can take full weight on the knee immediately, and therefore don’t need to use crutches although you may limp a little for a week.

Many people can return to driving, light work or normal activities within a few days. Exercises are important to build up strength in the muscles around the knee.