Due to advances in technology, it is now possible to use arthroscopy to treat several conditions in the knee. Because arthroscopy is less invasive than traditional open surgery, recovery time is generally quicker. Each year, there are over four million knee arthroscopies performed worldwide, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
What Is Knee Arthroscopy?
During an arthroscopic knee surgery, Dr. Bascharon will make a small incision in the knee to insert a small camera called an arthroscope. The arthroscope is roughly the size of a pencil; it sends images from inside the knee to a monitor in the operating room. The doctor will make one or more additional incisions to insert the operating instruments. Arthroscopy allows your surgeon to perform surgery without having to make a large incision, which is required by traditional open surgery. Arthroscopy can also be used to help accurately diagnose conditions in the knee.
Arthroscopic procedures are particularly beneficial for athletes, as these procedures’ shorter recovery times allow players to get back in the game quickly and safely.
Which Procedures Are Performed Arthroscopically?
Arthroscopy can be used to remove or repair torn meniscal cartilage, reconstruct a torn ACL, trim torn articular cartilage, remove loose fragments of bone or cartilage, or remove inflamed synovial tissue. Arthroscopy can often be done on an outpatient basis. Depending on the patient’s individual needs, arthroscopy can be performed with local, regional, or general anesthesia.
First, your surgeon will insert the arthroscope into the knee joint, guiding it to the correct area by using the image projected on the screen. Another small incision will be made to insert the operating instruments, which could include scissors, motorized shavers, or lasers. Surgery can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the necessary treatment. The incisions may be closed with either stitches or steri-strips, and covered with a soft bandage; then, you will be moved to recovery. Often, patients are able to go home within one to two hours following surgery.
What Should I Expect During Recovery?
Patients who undergo knee arthroscopy generally have a much faster recovery time than those who undergo traditional open knee surgery. With that said, it is critical to follow your surgeon’s instructions after the procedure.
You may experience some swelling in the knee, so try to elevate your leg as much as possible. You can also apply an ice pack to help relieve pain and swelling. You will need to take care to keep your incisions clean and dry until you are healed. Your surgeon will instruct you on how to change your dressing, and when to shower and bathe. You will likely need to use crutches to avoid putting weight on your knee. Dr. Bascharon will let you know when it is safe to stop using the crutches.
You may be prescribed pain medication to help with any discomfort, and your doctor may recommend medications like aspirin to reduce the risk of blood clots. You will need to exercise your knee regularly to help restore motion and strengthen the leg and knee muscles. Dr. Bascharon may schedule physical therapy to help with the knee exercises.
Most patients are able to return to physical activities within six to eight weeks, although high-impact activities may need to be avoided for a longer period of time. You should check with your doctor before doing any high-impact activities. If you have severe damage in the knee, like severely worn articular cartilage, you may have to make a lifestyle change, switching to more low-impact activities.
Knee Arthroscopy in Las Vegas, NV
Dr. Bascharon takes an individualized approach to patient care, and believes in using the least invasive treatment methods possible to get you back to your normal activities. If you would like to learn more about arthroscopic surgery, please contact Dr. Bascharon’s Las Vegas office.