The Benefits of a Minimally Invasive Approach to Knee Surgery
Knee pain is pretty much a fact of modern life, with millions of people seeking treatment every year for some type of knee discomfort. Sometimes, it’s just tendonitis or some other condition that can be treated with ice or another non-invasive approach. If that won’t satisfactorily resolve your issues, you may need to undergo knee surgery.
Your Options When You Need Knee Surgery
As a general rule, there are five options when you need some type of surgical procedure to alleviate knee pain or malfunction—arthroscopy, osteotomy, cartilage transplanting, partial knee replacement and total knee replacement.
What Is Arthroscopy and What Types of Procedures Can Be Done Arthroscopically?
With an arthroscopic procedure, your surgeon makes a small incision and inserts a miniature camera (known as an arthroscope). Using that camera, the surgeon can perform certain procedures, such as trimming a torn meniscus. Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a number of knee conditions, including a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), torn meniscus, loose cartilage or a dislocated patella (knee cap).
The Risks Associated with Knee Arthroscopy
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks inherent in an arthroscopic knee surgery. Though rare, you can experience excessive bleeding. There’s also the possibility of infection. Because the procedure involves the use of anesthesia, you may have an allergic reaction or breathing challenges from the anesthetic.
You can expect some stiffness in the knee after the surgery, even though the procedure is minimally invasive. There’s also always a risk that nerves, cartilage, blood vessels and ligaments may be damaged.
Recovery after Arthroscopic Surgery on Your Knee
As a general rule, the procedure itself typically takes an hour or two. Most people who have arthroscopic knee surgery do so on an outpatient basis, going home after a little time in recovery. You can expect some swelling, but that’s typically easy to manage with ice and elevation. You may work with a physical therapist, or may get some exercises to help you recover strength and mobility in your knee. The length of your recovery time will depend, in part, on the severity of your injury and the extent of the surgical procedure, but most people are able to return to an active lifestyle in three months or less.