If you have persistent pain, catching, or swelling in your knee, a procedure known as arthroscopy may help relieve these problems. Arthroscopy allows an mmpc orthopedic surgeon to diagnose and treat knee disorders by providing a clear view of the inside of the knee with small incisions, utilizing a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope. During the procedure, the surgeon also can insert surgical instruments through other small incisions in your knee to remove or repair damaged tissues.
How the Normal Knee Works
The knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. It is made up of the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), the upper end of the shin bone (tibia), and the knee cap (patella), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur. Four bands of tissue, the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments connect the femur and the tibia and provide joint stability. Strong thigh muscles give the knee strength and mobility.
Normally, all parts of the knee work together in harmony. But sports, work injuries, arthritis, or weakening of the tissues with age can cause wear and inflammation, resulting in pain and diminished knee function. By providing a clear picture of the knee, arthroscopy can also help your mmpc orthopedic surgeon decide whether other types of reconstructive surgery would be beneficial.
Orthopedic Knee Evaluation
The orthopedic knee evaluation consists of three components:
- A medical history
- A physical examination to assess your knee motion and stability, muscle strength and overall leg alignment.
- X-rays to evaluate the bones of your knee. Your mmpc orthopedic surgeon may also arrange for you to have an MRI to provide more information about the soft tissues of your knee. An MRI uses magnetic sound waves to create images. They are not X-rays. Blood tests may be obtained to determine if you have arthritis.
Your orthopedic surgeon will explain the potential risks and complications of knee arthroscopy, including those related to the surgery itself and those that can occur after your surgery.
Your Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Almost all arthroscopic knee surgery is done on an outpatient basis. Common treatments with arthroscopy include:
- Removal or repair of torn meniscal cartilage
- Reconstruction of a torn cruciate ligament
- Trimming of torn pieces of articular cartilage
- Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
- Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
Your Recovery at Home
Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery.
Keep your leg elevated as much as possible for the first few days after surgery. Apply ice as recommended by your orthopedic surgeon to relieve swelling and pain.
Exercises to Strengthen Your Knee
You should exercise your knee regularly for several weeks following surgery to strengthen the muscles of your leg and knee. A physical therapist may help you with your exercise program if your orthopedic surgeon recommends specific exercises.