KNEE SCOPES (ARTHROSCOPY)
Arthroscopic (key hole) surgery is a tool or technique used to perform numerous procedures in the knee:
These procedures include the following:
- Debridement, removal of loose bodies and meniscal surgery for Osteo-arthritis (wear and tear arthritis).
- Meniscal surgery including repair of tears or reconstruction with transplantations.
- Cartilage salvage surgery with microfracturing (releasing bone marrow stem cells into joint), transplantation or implantation.
- Anterior or posterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
- Removal of foreign bodies and complete synovectomies (removal of overactive joint lining).
- Biopsy of lining of joint to aid in diagnosis of some inflammatory joint diseases. Eg. Rheumatoid Arthitis and gout.
- Management of infected joints.
- Treatment of fractures that involve the joint surfaces.
Arthrocopic surgery is usually day-case surgery or at most an overnight stay in hospital. The incisions are mostly one on either side of the tendon just below the knee-cap. These wound receive stitches under the skin which are absorbable and water resistant dressings that will allow showering. In most cases they will last for the 12 days they are required but occasionally they will need changing due to bleeding or coming loose.
The usual process of scope surgery to the knee has been aided by the application of a tourniquet to create a bloodless field for surgery. I do not use a tourniquet for the most part because the fluid pump system used is so good that visualization is not impaired. This same constant irrigation of the joint is what keeps complications such as infection to a minimum.
Other small stab incisions around the knee are sometimes required but this is dependent on the requirements of the specific procedure. The knee is a relatively superficial joint, hence access is usually easy.
Cartilage surgery or meniscal repair or transplant surgery is complex and the rehabilitation post surgery is very important.
Knee braces and ice packs are used often postoperatively.