Athroscopy Frequently Asked Questions

Knee Problems

Normally, all parts of the knee work together in harmony. But Sports, work injuries, arthritis, or a weakening of the tissues with age can cause wear and inflammation, resulting in pain and diminished knee function.

Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat many of these problems

  • Torn meniscal cartilidge.
  • Loose fragments of bone or cartilidge.
  • Damaged joint surfaces or softening of the articular cartilidge known as chondromalacia
  • Inflammation of the synovial membrane, such as rheumatoid or gouty arthritis
  • Abnormal alignment or instability of the kneecap.
  • Torn ligaments including the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments.

Is Arthroscopy for you?

Your G.P. can refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for an evaluation to determine whether you could benefit from arthroscopy.

Signs you may be suitable for this procedure include, swelling, persistent pain, catching, giving - way, and loss of confidence in your knee. When other treatments such as the regular use of medications, knee supports, and physiotherapy have provided little or no improvement, you may benefit from arthroscopy.

Most arthroscopies are performed on patients between the ages of 20 and 60, but patients younger than 10 years and older than 80 years have benefitted from the procedure.

Evaluation of your Knee?

The orthopaedic knee evaluation consists of three elements:

  • A medical history, in which your surgeon gathers information about your general health and asks you about your symptoms.
  • A physical examination to assess your knee motion, stability, muscle strength and over all leg alignment.
  • X-Rays to evaluate the bones of your knee. Your Surgeon may also arrange for you to have an MRI to provide more information about the soft tissues of your knee. An MRI uses magnetic sound waves to create images. Blood tests may be carried out to determine if you have artritis

Your surgeon will review the results of your evaluation with you and discuss whether arthroscopy would be the best method to further diagnose and treat your knee problem. Other treatment options, such as medications or other surgical procedures will also be discussed with you and considered.

Your surgeon will explain the potential risks and complications of knee arthroscopy, including those related to the surgery itself and those that can occur after your surgery.

Preparing for your Surgery

If you decide to have arthroscopic knee surgery, you may be asked to have a complete physical with your G.P. before your operation to assess your health and to rule out any conditions that could interfere with your surgery.

Before surgery, tell your surgeon about any medications you are taking. You will be informed which medications you should stop taking before your surgery.

Blood tests or cardiogram, may be requested by your surgeon to help plan your procedure.

Your Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

Almost all arthroscopic knee surgery is performed on an outpatients basis. OPS will contact you about the specific details for your surgery, you will be asked to arrive at the hospital an hour or two before your surgery.

Please do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.

Once you have been admitted you will be evaluated by a member of the anaesthetics team. Arthroscopy can be performed under local, epidural, or general anaesthetic. Local anesthesia numbs your knee, epidural anesthesia numbs you below your waist, and general anesthesia puts you to sleep. The anaesthiologist will help you decide which would be the best for you.

If you have local or epidural anesthesia, you may be able to watch the procedure on a tv screen, if you wish.

The orthopaedic surgeon will make a few small incisions in your knee. A sterile solution will be used to fill the knee joint and rinse away any cloudy fluid, providing a clear view of your knee.

The surgeon will then insert the arthroscope to properly diagnose your problem, using the TV image to guide the arthroscope. If surgical treatment is needed, the surgeon can use a variety of small surgical instruments (e.g., scissors, clamps,motorised shavers, or lasers) through another small incision. This part of the procedure usually lasts 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.



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