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Arthroscopy of the Knee Joint

Knee Arthroscopy is a common surgical procedure performed using an arthroscope, a viewing instrument, to look into the knee joint to diagnose or treat a knee problem. It is a relatively safe procedure and a majority of the patient’s discharge from the hospital on the same day of surgery.

Knee Arthroscopy

The knee is often taken for granted, but it offers plenty of assistance for overall movement. It is considered to be the most complex of all the joints in the body. It connects to the tibia and the femur. The patella is the cap that sits on top of it. All of this works to ensure movement is smooth and easily. The cartilage of the joints also helps to make sure the movements are painless.

The Menisci are the C shaped cartilage parts between the tibia and the femur. The Menisci are like shock absorbers as the knee moves. They help to make sure the knee is stable and that it is able to handle the load on the knee joints. The muscles are attached with tendons. They work with the bones to help stabilize the entire knee.

Reasons for Knee Arthroscopy Surgery

There are many reasons why a person may need a knee arthroscopy. The knee joint is often one that is afflicted by injuries to the body. A torn meniscus or a damaged ligament aren’t uncommon. Inflammation of the tissue or a torn part of cartilage can make a person a good candidate for the procedure. If the patella is out of place, that can also be a reason. There are cysts that can cause the knee to fill with fluid, often due to arthritis.


The procedure for knee arthroscopy is simple enough, and most patients are able to go home the same day. It is conducted with the patient under anesthesia. Several small incisions are made around the knee and saline solution is injected in there to allow the surgeon to view the area where they need to work.

A small tube with a camera attached at the end is inserted into the knee joint. This allows the images inside of the knee to show up on a video screen for the surgeon to view. They are able to identify the underlying causes of them problem and determine the best method to correct it. They use a variety of small instruments that are also inserted into the incisions.

Depending on the underlying issue, the procedure may include removing or repairing the meniscus, ligaments, or cartilage. Any buildup of fluid from inflammation or cysts will be removed. If there are fragments of bone, they will be broken down and removed. The patella may be put back into place if it isn’t correctly aligned.

Once the necessary repairs are completed, the saline solution is drained out of the knee. The incisions are closed and the knee is covered with a sterilized dressing to help reduce the risk of an infection.

The repair procedure may include any of the following:

  • Removal or repair of a torn meniscus
  • Reconstruction or repair of a torn cruciate ligament
  • Removal of small torn pieces of articular cartilage
  • Removal of loose fragments of bones
  • Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
  • Removal of baker’s cyst
  • Realignment of the patella
  • Making small holes or microfractures near the damaged cartilage to stimulate cartilage growth
  • After the repair, the knee joint is carefully examined for bleeding or any other damage.
  • The saline is then drained from the knee joint.
  • Finally, the incisions are closed with sutures or steri-strips, and the knee is covered with a sterile dressing.




After a few hours in the recovery area, the doctor will send you home. Only a small percentage of patients with a knee arthroscopy procedure are kept overnight as a precaution. The recovery time will depend on overall health and the type of procedures that had to be conducted while the surgeon was repairing the knee area.

Make sure you follow all of the instructions of your doctor for the best outcome with your recovery. This type of procedure tends to be faster and easier to recover from than a complete knee surgery. You may be given pain medication to help you be comfortable and to reduce swelling. You may be asked to use a knee brace or crutches for a couple of weeks to help keep the weight off of your knee.

You will need to be involved in a therapy program soon after the knee arthroscopy procedure. This is going to ensure the knee is able to get stronger and the full range of motion can return. You will be given exercises to preform each day at home too.


This type of procedure is considered to be very safe, but there can be risks. The possible complications include bleeding inside of the knee joint, stiffness, blood clots nerve damage, and infection. Make sure you keep all follow up appointments and you let your doctor know right away if something doesn’t seem right with your recovery.


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