Is your knee pain getting in the way of riding a bicycle? Has the soreness in one or both the knees forced you to stop running?
Knee pain is something that affects millions of people daily. You may have tried several options from painkillers to home remedies. But, if these options haven’t helped, knee arthroscopy could be the right option for you.
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure, which involves the insertion of an arthroscope (a thin, narrow tube with a fibre-optic video camera) for diagnosing and treating problems associated with the knee joint.
Knee arthroscopy is widely used in diagnosing the following problems:
- Persistent joint pain and stiffness
- Damage to the cartilage
- Floating fragments of cartilage or bones inside the knee joint space
- Accumulation of fluid around the knee joint
People with severe knee pain and limited mobility are considered good candidates for knee arthroscopy. It is mostly preferred when X-rays and other imaging tests fail to diagnose the proper cause of knee pain. Individuals who suffer from a knee injury and have not found any relief with medicines or other non-operative procedures can also undergo knee arthroscopy.
Knee arthroscopy is not for everyone. Therefore, based on the condition of the person, the doctor will decide whether he/she is eligible for knee arthroscopy or not.
PREPARATION BEFORE PROCEDURE
During the first visit, the doctor will check your general health. You need to give details about your medical, medication, and social history. Your doctor may ask you about the previous medical reports, such as knee X-rays and other imaging tests. The doctor will order you to undergo preoperative tests, such as a blood test, ECG or other imaging tests to assess your overall health condition for undergoing surgery.
Additionally, you need to follow these tips for having a successful and uneventful surgery:
- Tell the doctor about the current medicines or vitamin supplements
- Avoid aspirin or any other blood-thinners a few days before the surgery
- Quit smoking
- Avoid consumption of alcohol temporarily
- Inform your doctor regarding any allergies
- Consult your doctor if you have any skin rash or infection around the knee
You need to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least six to eight hours before the surgery. Your doctor will advise you to bring assistive devices, such as walkers or crutches, that will help you walk after the surgery.
Based on your condition, the anesthesiologist will administer either general, local, or regional anaesthesia. Before making an incision, the surgeon will clean the surgical site with an antiseptic solution to prevent the risk of infection after the surgery. Then, the surgeon will make a few small incisions in the knee. The surgeon will now fill the joint with a sterile solution to expand the area of the knee. The surgeon will now make a few more incisions at various points around the joint to insert the arthroscope and other surgical instruments. The arthroscope will send images of the knee to the monitor, which helps the surgeon in examining the joints. If required, the surgeon will repair the damaged area by using small instruments inserted through additional incisions.
Once after completing the procedure, the surgeon will remove the arthroscope. The incisions are stitched and covered with a sterile dressing.
Immediately after the surgery, you will be in the recovery room for a few hours. The surgical nurse will monitor your vitals, such as blood pressure and heart rate. Pain and swelling are common for a few weeks, which can be managed by taking the prescribed medicines. You will be advised to keep your leg elevated to reduce pain and swelling. Your doctor will recommend physical therapy for restoring strength and mobility of the knees. Before discharge, the nurse will give you certain instructions regarding wound care.
Follow the below-given tips for quicker recovery:
- Take adequate rest
- Use an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling
- Take the prescribed medicines
- Do not lift heavy weights for a few weeks
- Perform recommended joint exercises
- Keep the incision clean and dry
- Visit your doctor immediately if you have a fever or any unusual symptoms
FACTORS AFFECTING COST
The cost of knee arthroscopy differs based on the following factors:
- Location of the hospital
- Type of hospital
- Surgeon’s fee
- Operating room per-hour cost
- Type of anaesthesia
- Hospital stay (if recommended)
- Current medical reports
- Current medications
- Physiotherapy cost
- Follow-up visits
A knee arthroscopy will usually last for 30 minutes to two hours.
Knee arthroscopy has the following benefits:
- Less pain
- Less tissue damage
- Quicker healing time
- Low risk of infection
- No or lesser hospital stay
Like all surgeries, knee arthroscopy also has certain complications, such as:
- Blood clots
In most of the cases, light physical activities can be resumed within one to three weeks, but more demanding physical activities, which involve lifting heavy weights may take at least six to eight weeks.
Based on the recovery, the person will be able to drive within one to three weeks after the procedure.