Knee Arthroscopy

Arthroscopic knee surgery requires a hospital operating room and is usually performed as an outpatient surgery. Arthroscopic knee operation is normally done under a general anaesthetic but may be done under epidural, spinal or occasionally a local anaesthetic if necessary.

The arthroscopic knee operation requires two or three small incisions at the level of the knee joint to allow insertion of fluid, the arthroscope [attached to a camera] and instruments. The length of these incisions is approximately 3 mm. Occasionally an incision will have to be enlarged in order to remove a fragment from the knee.

The length of time the arthroscopic knee surgery takes depends on the procedure which is being performed. Simple arthroscopic knee surgery (i.e. excluding more complicated arthroscopic procedures such as arthroscopic ACL reconstruction) usually take about 30-45 minutes.

Following the arthroscopic knee surgery, a local anaesthetic solution is normally injected into the joint to assist with pain relief.

The small incisions require stitches, and will usually have a simple dressing applied with a bandage wrapped around the knee.

Once the patient has recovered from the anaesthetic and started to mobilize, they are normally safe to be discharged from hospital on the same day as the surgery. Rarely will the patient need to stay overnight.

Typically recovery will take two hours after arthroscopic knee surgery but some patients take longer to recover. The patient will be given prescription for pain medications.

It is essential that the patient has somebody else to drive them home. The patient should feel comfortable getting up and mobilizing with crutches. Dr. Matthys does not recommend bed rest because of the higher risk of developing blood clots. Read more about post operative care.