If you are suffering from severe knee pain that is making it hard to walk, run, or enjoy life, you could benefit from a knee scope. Knee arthroscopy (knee scope) is less invasive than traditional knee surgery because the surgeon can insert a small camera and surgical tools through a tiny incision. Small incisions decrease recovery time and are less painful overall. Once the camera is inside the knee, your surgeon can inspect and diagnose what is causing your pain prior to starting the repairs. Over 4 million knee arthroscopies are performed each year, making them a popular and effective treatment option.
You should first meet with an Orthopedic Surgeon to discuss your condition and treatment options. If they agree that a knee scope is the best solution, a surgery will be scheduled.
You are not supposed to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery due to the anesthesia. On the day of your surgery arrive at the hospital one to two hours early. The anesthesia team will discuss your options, and you will most likely be able to select from local anesthesia to numb the knee only, regional anesthesia to numb you below the waist, and general anesthesia that puts you to sleep. The stronger your anesthesia, the longer your recovery time at the hospital.
Once the surgery starts your orthopedic surgeon will make small incisions and insert the camera through it. High resolution images will appear on a television monitor which will allow them to inspect and diagnose the problem. If something needs repairing, they will make another tiny incision and insert surgical tools that can be used to correct it. These small tools have revolutionized the surgical process by enabling surgeons to fix torn cartilage, ligaments, remove loose bone fragments, and remove inflamed tissue, without requiring a large incision and an extended recovery time.
After your surgeon has repaired the damaged knee they will either stitch the incision closed or use steri-strips which are similar to strong, small bandaids. The area will be covered with a soft bandage for protection, and you will be taken to a recovery room for monitoring and rest. Most patients can leave the same day but cannot drive themselves. How early you can leave the hospital depends on your reaction to the anesthesia.
A knee scope is the preferred type of knee surgery because you can recover quickly. Many patients are even able to drive within one to three weeks after the procedure. Just be careful during the recovery period, so you don’t re-injure your knee.
For the first couple of days, you will need to keep your knee elevated as much as possible while icing to decrease pain and swelling. You need to keep your incisions clean and dry so protect them during icing by using a sealed ice pack. Pain medication may also be used. Crutches are typically used to help keep weight off of your knee during the initial recovery phase.
A couple of days after your knee scope you will need to meet with your surgeon to make sure the knee is healing properly and to discuss your exercise and treatment plan. Exercise is important to having a full recovery and for preventing your knee from becoming injured again. Carefully follow the instructions of your surgeon and physical therapist to get the most benefit out of your procedure.
Dr. Belongie is an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in knee scopes. He continues to train on the latest medical technology to ensure that his patients have access to the best health care possible. For more information on knee scopes or to schedule an appointment call 813-814-9251.