Knee arthroscopy - Overview
Knee scope - arthroscopic lateral retinacular release; Synovectomy - knee; Patellar (knee) debridement; Meniscus repair; Lateral release; Knee surgery
Definition of Knee arthroscopy:
Knee arthroscopy is surgery that is done by making small cuts on your knee and looking inside using a tiny camera. Other medical instruments may also be placed inside to fix your knee.
Three different types of pain relief (anesthesia) may be used for knee arthroscopy surgery:
- Your knee may be numbed with painkilling medicine. You also may be given medicines that relax you. You will stay awake.
- Spinal anesthesia. This is also called regional anesthesia. The painkilling medicine is injected into a space in your spine. You will be awake but will not be able to feel anything below your waist.
- General anesthesia. You will be asleep and pain-free.
A cuff-like device that blows up (inflates) may be used around your thigh to help control bleeding during knee arthroscopy.
The surgeon will make two or three small cuts around your knee. Salt water (saline) will be pumped into your knee to stretch the knee.
A narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end will be placed inside through one of the cuts. The camera is attached to a video monitor in the operating room. The surgeon looks at the monitor to see the inside of your knee. In some operating rooms, the patient can also watch the surgery on the monitor, if they want to.
The surgeon will look around your knee for problems. The surgeon may put other medical instruments inside your knee through the other small cuts. The surgeon will then fix or remove the problem in your knee.
At the end of your surgery, the saline will be drained from your knee. The surgeon will close your cuts with sutures (stitches) and cover them with a dressing. Many surgeons take pictures of the procedure from the video monitor so that afterward you can see what was done and what was found.
See also: ACL reconstruction
Why the Procedure Is Performed:
Arthroscopy may be recommended for these knee problems:
- Torn meniscus. Meniscus is cartilage that cushions the space between the bones in the knee. Surgery is done to repair or remove it.
- Torn or damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
- Swollen (inflamed) or damaged lining of the joint. This lining is called the synovium.
- Kneecap (patella) that is out of position (misalignment).
- Small pieces of broken cartilage in the knee joint
- Removal of Baker's cyst -- a swelling behind the knee that is filled with fluid. Sometimes this occurs when there is swelling and pain (inflammation) from other causes, like arthritis.
- Some fractures of the bones of the knee
- Reviewed last on: 2/19/2011
- Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Phillips BB. Arthroscopy of the lower extremity. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 48.
Miller MD, Hart J. Surgical principles. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 2.
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