What is knee arthroscopy?
Recent advances in the development of surgical equipment have allowed orthopedic surgeons to treat conditions that were traditionally either ignored or treated with an open procedure. Now, with just a small incision, a surgeon can insert a pencil-sized optical device into the knee joint, which relays an image to a large video monitor in the operating room, allowing a surgeon to see into the joint and correct problems.
Step-by-step of a knee arthroscopy
Knee arthroscopy, or a “knee scope,” is a minimally-invasive procedure. The use of an arthroscope means that the procedure is done using 2-3 small incisions rather than a more invasive “open” surgery that would require a much larger incision. These small incisions, or “portals,” are used to insert the surgical instruments into the joint. Occasionally, a third or fourth incision may be required depending upon the procedure.
Ligament Repair Procedures
When you tear a ligament in your knee, such as the ACL, non-surgical options may be tried first to avoid surgery. If the conservative options do not heal the tear and surgery is chosen, it is performed arthroscopically.
Surgical instruments are inserted to shave tissue, cauterize structures or remove pieces. On occasion, holes may be drilled into patches of bare bone where the cartilage has been lost. This technique, called “microfracture” or “picking,” provokes localized bleeding and encourages the formation of fibrocartilage (repair cartilage). Saline is pumped through the joint during the procedure to improve visualization and flush out debrided tissue.
In the case of an ACL repair, the surgeon will take part of the patellar tendon (connects the kneecap to the tibia) or the hamstring tendon (from the back of the thigh) from either the patient or from a cadaver. The surgeon will connect the tendon to the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) where the ACL is supposed to go and attach it with surgical staples or screws.
Dr. Pruitt uses OrthAlign®, this technology offers precise alignment technology in a simple, palm-sized, single-use device that is compatible with all implant systems for both Total Knee and Total Hip Arthroplasty surgeries.
Deciding whether or not to get knee replacement surgery is difficult. Discussing your treatment options with your doctor is essential to helping you choose whether this is the right option for you. Learn more about knee replacement surgery to help formulate some questions to ask your doctor. Remember to write these questions down and bring them to your next appointment.
Each patient recovers differently. After surgery, you will work with a physical therapist to gradually increase your knee strength and mobility. Many people are able to go home soon after surgery. Others choose to recover at a rehabilitation center. This decision depends on the availability of family or friends to help you with daily activities, your home environment, safety considerations and your overall evaluation after surgery.
Typically, patients are able to drive again in about 4-6 weeks, so long as they can tolerate it and are not taking narcotic medications. If your job is not physically demanding, you may be able to return to work after about a month. These decisions are made in your consultation with your doctor.