Knee Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a term that comes from two Greek words, "Arthro" meaning joint, and "Skopein" meaning to examine. The benefits of arthroscopy involve smaller incisions, faster healing, a more rapid recovery, and less scarring.

What is Knee Arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that allows your operating surgeon to view the knee joint without making a large incision (cut) through the skin and other soft by inserting a small camera, called an "Arthroscope" into your knee joint and visualizing pictures on a video monitor. Because the arthroscope and specialized surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions, rather than the larger incision needed for open surgery thereby helping in early recovery and return to activity.

When Knee Arthroscopy is recommended ?

Your doctor may recommend knee arthroscopy if you have a painful condition of the knee that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment such as rest, physical therapy, and medications or injections that can reduce inflammation. Knee arthroscopy may relieve painful symptoms of many problems that damage the cartilage surfaces and other soft tissues surrounding the joint. Common arthroscopic procedures for the knee include.

  • Removal or repair of a torn meniscus
  • Reconstruction of a torn anterior cruciate ligament
  • Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
  • Trimming of damaged articular cartilage
  • Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
  • Treatment of patella (kneecap) problems

What will my surgeon see inside the knee joint?

The ends of the bones that form the knee joint are covered with a smooth covering called "Articular Cartilage". The knee joint also contains a thin lining of fluid secreting tissue called the "Synovial Membrane"which releases fluid that lubricates the cartilage and reduces friction. There are four primary ligaments in your knee, two "Cruciates Ligaments" and two "Collateral Ligaments". The knee also contains two wedge-shaped shock absorbing gel pads called "Meniscii" between your thighbone and shinbone. Your operating surgeon will be able to visualize these structures and make an accurate diagnosis as well as repair or reconstruct the underlying damage during arthroscopic surgery of your knee joint.

Realistic Expectations

The success of your surgery will depend largely on how well you follow your orthopaedic surgeon instructions at home during the first few weeks after surgery. Your recovery will depend on the type of damage that was present in your knee and most patients return to full, unrestricted activities after arthroscopy. Unless you have had a ligament reconstruction, you should be able to return to most physical activities after "6 - 8 weeks", or sometimes much sooner. Higher impact activities may need to be avoided for a longer time. For patients involved in heavy work, it may be longer before you can return to your job. Your treating surgeon will discuss in detail with you when you can return to your range of activities. Sometimes, the damage to your knee can be severe enough that it cannot be completely reversed with surgery.


Knee arthroscopy is done to manage many common knee conditions. Knee arthroscopy is usually done in order to take care of the injuries related to cartilages, ligament problems, meniscus tear and many other issues. A small incision is made and the surgeon inserts an arthroscopy (a small camera) into the incision of knee joint. The camera has an attached light which gives a clear view of the knee joints. Through another incision, small surgical instruments are inserted to remove and repair the damaged tissue. The incision is closed using stitches and is draped well with bandages.

Is arthroscopic knee surgery painful?

As this is a minimally invasive technique , it helps people in recovering faster and is less painful. Pain post arthroscopy may be due to the following reasons:

  • Persistent Swelling: Swelling post-surgery is one of the most common symptoms, pain related to such swelling is managed with the help of oral pain killers, Physiotherapy and Ice application. The swelling should be controlled through medicines and care must be taken so that the operated area doesn’t get infected
  • Infection: Common symptoms of an infection include redness around the incision, warmth around the joint, swelling and fever or chills. Prolonged antibiotic treatment is necessary to bring infection under control. Additional surgery may be performed to clean the joint if the infection is more serious
  • Inadequate Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation or physiotherapy is very important in order to recover and regain mobility in the knee joints. Hence, if the patient fails to do proper physiotherapy, pain may occur in the knees when the patient moves around

Are you awake during arthroscopic knee surgery?

Three types of Anesthesia can be administered to the patient. They are:

  • Local Anesthesia: Numbing agents are injected to the areas surrounding the knee. The patient may feel pressure or a movement in the surgical area
  • Regional Anesthesia: This Anesthesia is delivered through a small needle, injected to the spine. This can numb the bottom half of the body
  • General Anesthesia: This anaesthesia is injected into veins, making the patient fully unconscious if the surgery takes long to complete

How long can it take to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery?

Recovery from knee arthroscopy depends on the amount of damage the patient had and the type of surgery performed on the patient. It can all depend on the health condition of the patient as well. Patients can return to their daily activities within 6-8 weeks. However, to perform rigorous activities like exercise, swimming etc, it may take a little longer than 8 weeks. Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster when compared to the traditional open knee surgery. Arthroscopy can provide pain relief and help the patient regain joint mobility

How much does it cost to have arthroscopic knee surgery?

An Arthroscopic knee surgery may cost around 1.6 lakhs. However, the cost may vary depending on the degree of damage, type of surgery, expertise and skill of the surgeons and many other factors.

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