DESCRIPTION OF ARTHROSCOPIC KNEE SURGERY
Arthroscopic knee surgery involves placing a small camera and instruments within the knee through small incisions to best visualize the structures and treat them. Making an open incision to treat a complex knee condition may occasionally be required, but arthroscopic knee surgery can treat a large number of knee conditions through minimally invasive incisions. In the majority of patients, two small incisions are placed along the inside and outside of the patellar tendon through which a camera is placed in one portal and instruments are placed in the other scope portal to treat these conditions.
The most common conditions for which we perform arthroscopic knee surgery are for mild damage to the cartilage surfaces, where the surfaces are smoothed down (chondroplasty), or determining meniscal tears which cannot be repaired (partial meniscectomies), and for removing scar tissue and bone spurs from the knee (lysis of adhesions and removal of osteophytes). In these circumstances, the camera is inserted on one side of the patellar tendon, while the instruments are placed through a small incision on the other side and used to smooth off cartilage surfaces, remove bone spurs, and to trim down meniscal flaps in areas which cannot be repaired.
Almost all simple arthroscopic knee surgery can be performed as an outpatient in healthy patients. In the majority of circumstances, we encourage full motion of the operative knee and weightbearing after surgery. One can anticipate being on crutches until walking without a limp is possible, which can occur sometimes directly after surgery but usually requires one week to be able to walk without a limp. We do encourage physical therapy after surgery to work on restoration of normal muscle tone, to decrease swelling of the knee, and to make sure that one regains full motion as soon as possible.