During sports, you can sustain knee injuries, some of which can heal without medical intervention and others that require immediate medical care. Knee arthroscopy is a slightly invasive surgical procedure involving an arthroscope, a thin fiber-optic instrument, to examine and treat severe knee injuries. Your West Chester orthopedic surgeon uses this procedure to diagnose and treat various knee problems, including torn cartilage, loose fragments of bone or cartilage, and damaged ligaments. Knee arthroscopy offers several benefits over traditional open surgery, including less pain, faster recovery time, and a lower risk of complications.
What to expect before knee arthroscopy
Preparing for knee arthroscopy involves several steps necessary to ensure a successful and safe procedure. Firstly, informing your surgeon of any medical conditions or allergies, you may have before the surgery is important. The team may perform several tests, including blood work, X-rays, or an MRI, to assess your overall health and knee condition. They may also advise you to stop taking specific medications, like blood thinners and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), at least a week before the surgery. During your initial consultation, your doctor will provide specific instructions on preparing for the surgery, such as when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure.
You will also need to arrange for a loved one to drive you home after the surgery, as you won’t be able to drive yourself due to the effects of anesthesia. You will also need a trusted friend or relative to stay with you for 24 hours after the surgery, as you may feel drowsy and require assistance. On the day of treatment, you should wear loose and comfortable clothing and leave any jewelry or valuables at home.
What to expect during the procedure
During knee arthroscopy, Dr. Hess will insert a small camera through a small incision into your knee joint. The arthroscope allows him to view the inside of your knee and diagnose any problems. Additionally, he will make other small incisions to allow for the insertion of surgical instruments. The team uses these instruments to repair damaged tissue or remove debris within your joint. The Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine team offers knee arthroscopy as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go back home on the same day as the surgery.
The recovery process
During recovery, you may experience some pain, swelling, and stiffness in your knee joint, which is a normal part of the healing process. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication and recommend using ice packs to help reduce swelling and discomfort. As you progress through recovery, Dr. Hess will introduce you to physical therapy to improve your knee’s strength and flexibility.
The therapy may involve exercises to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings and range-of-motion exercises to increase the flexibility of your knee. The physical therapist will also teach you how to walk properly and perform activities of daily living to avoid re-injury. Recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the procedure, but most patients can resume daily activities within a few weeks.
Call Dr. Hess or book an appointment online for more information about knee arthroscopy.