Arthroscopy involves looking at the inside of the knee joint with a small telescope and camera (arthroscope). The image is projected onto a television monitor via a fiber optic cable. This allows the surgeon to fully inspect and repair any problems.

Arthroscopy is generally a safe procedure and is performed as day surgery under an anaesthetic. It allows for a quicker return to work and sporting activities. There are also less risks and discomfort.

Common problems that can be treated:

– Meniscal tears

– Ligaments injuries

– Synovitis (inflamed of the joint lining)

– Cartilage damage

– Removal of loose bodies

The results from arthroscopic surgery depend on the arthroscopic findings and the underlying condition. In cases of a torn meniscus with no other damage to the joint, the results are usually excellent.

You can fully weight bear on your leg immediately after surgery. You can also move your knee as much as pain allows. You can increase your activity levels as pain allows. You should be able to return to most physical activities after 6 weeks, or sometimes much sooner. Higher impact activities may need to be avoided for a longer time.

Complications from arthroscopy are uncommon but may include:

– Infection

– Damage to blood vessels or nerves

– Excessive swelling of the knee

– Blood clots in leg veins (.e. DVT)

Instructions for AFTER the surgery

  • It is essential for someone to accompany you home and preferably stay with you for the first 24 hours.
  • You may put full weight through your leg when walking
  • Try not to limp.
  • Use crutches/walking aid if you find yourself limping too much.
  • All wounds are closed with steri-strips (NO stitches) AND covered with a WATERPROOF dressing.
  • Leave bulky dressing undisturbed for 48 hours.
  • Remove bulky dressing after 48 hours and replace with elastic bandage (Tubigrip) supplied.
  • Leave waterproof dressing ON till review by Dr Sim in two weeks.
  • You may shower and get waterproof dressing wet.
  • Swelling. This is to be expected. Try to rest with the leg fully straight. A pillow under the heel will help with this. DO NOT REST WITH A PILLOW UNDER THE KNEE. Elevate the leg on a pillow or cushion while sitting. An ice pack can be used.
  • Pain. This is worst in the first 48 hours after surgery and gradually improves after that. You will receive a prescription for pain medication on discharge. Take the medications as required until the pain is tolerable.
  • Activity. Do as much as the knee allows you to do. If you notice any increase in discomfort/pain or swelling in the knee, this is a sign you may be overdoing it and you may need to take it easier for a short period.
  • Physiotherapy. Attending physiotherapy in the first 2 weeks after surgery is generally NOT necessary but you must DO the exercises shown below. Dr Sim will then decide whether physiotherapy is necessary after your 2 week review appointment.
  • Excessive persistent pain
  • Pus discharge from wound
  • Fever
  • Excessive pain AND tenderness AND swelling in the calf.

 

Should any of these symptoms persist, please contact Dr Sim’s rooms or after hours emergency.

ARTHROSCOPY POST OPERATIVE EXERCISES

  • Place a rolled up towel under the knee.
  • Tighten the thigh muscle, bracing kneecap up tight
  • Feel the back of the knee pressing down on the towel.
  • Lift heel off the bed.
  • Lower and relax leg
  • To progress lift the straight leg off the towel.

Repeat 10 times

  • Place towel under your heel.
  • Brace knee tightly, straightening knee down onto the bed.
  • Lift straight leg off the towel. * Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Lower and relax.

Repeat 10 times

  • Sit on bed with legs out straight
  • Bend your knees as far back as possible pulling your heel towards your buttock
  • You may help with your hands around the thigh initially.

Repeat 10 times

  • Sit on the edge of a chair/bed
  • Bend your foot under the chair (do not the buttock, help by pushing with other foot)

Repeat 10 times

Do these exercises THREE times per day, especially in the first week after surgery