Knee Arthroscopy


A knee arthroscopy is a procedure in which an arthroscope, an instrument with a light source and small camera, is inserted into the knee joint through small incisions. The patient is given a local anesthetic or general anesthesia for the surgery. The procedure allows the surgeon to look inside the knee and diagnose the cause of pain. The surgeon is sometimes able to provide relief by treating the condition and improving joint movement.

What is it?

Knee injuries or overuse result in persistent pain unable to be addressed through nonsurgical means. When this occurs, a surgeon will order a knee arthroscopy to visualize the joint and diagnose the problem. If the condition can be treated at the time of the arthroscopy, the surgeon will insert surgical instruments through the same incision sites already created for the arthroscope, and use these instruments to alter the damaged tissue.

What should I do to prepare?

When preparing for knee arthroscopy, it is important to remember three things. First, the patient must arrange for transportation after the surgery since he or she will be recovering from anesthesia and will also have very limited mobility due to the knee procedure. Second, the patient must talk to his or her doctor about what medications he or she should avoid using, particularly with regards to blood thinning medications and other prescriptions. Patients will be required to fast for approximately 8 hours prior to surgery unless different

What happens during the process?

The patient will be given anesthesia, either general or regional. General anesthesia is utilized to sedate the patient completely so that they sleep through the procedure. The drugs are administered by an anesthesiologist through an intravenous line, directly connecting to the bloodstream. Regional anesthesia is when a patient receives an epidural block so that a region of the body will lose sensation for at least two to three hours. Small incisions will be made in order to insert the arthroscope or other necessary instruments.  Additionally, fluid will be injected into the joint site in order to help the surgeon fully visualize the knee joint through the arthroscope and diagnose the issue. At the end, the surgeon will stitch the arthroscopy site closed.

What are the risks and potential complications?

Knee arthroscopy comes with associated risks, that include, but are not limited to:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Knee pain


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