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If you've had a knee injury that damaged the bone or cartilage in your joint, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic surgery to make repairs and relieve pain. Arthroscopic surgery is much less invasive than open-knee surgery, but it is still a medical procedure that may take a few weeks to recover from. Here are a few things you may want to know about arthroscopic knee surgery.
How Arthroscopic Surgery Works
To perform this type of knee surgery, the orthopedic surgeon makes tiny incisions over your knee that are large enough to pass a small scope and surgical instruments through. There is no need for a large incision that opens the tissue of your knee so the surgeon can see inside. Instead, a small scope is slid through a tiny incision and a camera on the end allows the doctor to view the inside of your knee on a high resolution monitor.
The doctor can move the scope as needed to see all parts of your knee. This helps him or her identify the problem. If you have bits of bone or cartilage floating around your joint space, they can be removed with instruments inserted through another incision. The surgeon is even able to trim broken cartilage pieces and make repairs to the injured parts of your knee.
Local Anesthesia May Be Possible
When you have a knee arthroscopy, you may not need general anesthesia. Other choices include a local anesthetic that numbs your knee only, and a regional anesthetic that numbs your body from the waist down. Having a local or regional anesthetic eliminates the risks associated with general anesthesia, and as an added benefit, you can watch the procedure on the screen along with the surgeon if you want. If you're awake and alert, the surgeon can explain the procedure each step of the way.
Weight Bearing Is Not Allowed After Surgery
You won't be able to put weight on your knee for several days after the procedure. You may need to use crutches or a wheelchair so you can still get around. Although your activities will be limited, you'll need to move around your house and get to your follow-up appointment with your surgeon. Your doctor will tell you when you can resume walking on your knee depending on the extent of your surgery and how well you are recovering.
Recovery Will Take A Few Weeks
Even though the incisions are small, your recovery period will take weeks, especially if the surgeon does extensive internal repairs. At first, you'll need to keep your leg elevated as much as possible to reduce swelling. You'll also use a lot of ice pack treatments to help with pain and swelling. Your knee will be covered in a bandage you'll need to change and keep dry. Part of your recovery involves watching for signs of infection so you can get treated early if necessary.
Once your knee has healed enough, your doctor will prescribe exercises that help your knee regain its normal range of motion. The exercises also help strengthen the muscles that support the knee that may have become weak due to inactivity. It's possible you'll attend sessions with a physical therapist to make sure your knee mends quickly and properly.
How well your knee performs after the surgery will depend a great deal on how much damage the joint endured. If you lost a lot of cartilage or suffered permanent joint damage, you may need to completely avoid impact sports and heavy lifting in the future. Visit an orthopedic surgeon at Northern Maine Medial Center today for more information.Share
28 October 2015