Knee arthroscopy is the branch of orthopaedic knee surgery which uses a flexible metal instrument, the arthroscope, to see inside the knee joint and diagnose and treat knee pain and knee problems. Knee arthroscopy was the first major development of arthroscopic surgery and is now a routine and effective way of managing many knee conditions.
Knee arthroscopy approaches the knee through two or three small incisions, often called portals, through which either the scope itself or the instruments are passed. The knee may be inflated with water to make it easier to visualise inside. Arthroscopy reduces the trauma to the local tissues and allows speedy resumption of activity.
Once inside the knee joint the surgeon can see the joint surfaces and attempt to examine any of the structures which might be responsible for the symptoms of which the patient is complaining. A number of diagnostic and treatment procedures are possible via this type of knee surgery.
The menisci are more commonly called the knee cartilages and are commonly injured or become worn with time, resulting in tears or fraying. Arthroscopy can see the problems directly and the surgeon can remove, trim or repair the cartilage as he sees fit. You can have this done as a day case and go home walking relatively normally and without crutches or a stick.
Knee ligament surgery
The commonest type of knee ligament surgery is anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and most of these procedures are now done via the arthroscope, with consequently quicker rehabilitation with the physiotherapist.
Knee replacement surgery is too major an procedure to be considered in this manner although there is a trend towards minimally invasive knee replacement to reduce trauma and shorten recovery.
There are even games for you if you want to practice being a knee replacement surgeon! A knee surgery game is available along with a virtual knee surgery 2 game, both of which allow you to plan and perform the joint replacement without any awful effects on a real person.