Knee Arthroscopy

What is a knee arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) is a small operation performed through small cuts on either side of the knee. It allows the surgeon to see directly into the knee joint to assess, and often treat, common knee problems, including repair of ligaments, cartilage and bone.

What should I do before my surgery?

Following consultation with Mr Hoad-Reddick, to proceed with a knee arthroscopy please contact the HR Orthopaedics office on 0161 722 0007 to arrange a convenient date for your surgery.

If you are insured you will need to contact your insurance company and obtain an authorisation number which you should take with you on admission. Your insurance company may ask for Procedure Codes which, for a knee arthoscopy is W8500. Prices for self-funding patients can be given on request; for more information on this please visit ourself-pay information page.

The hospital will contact you to attend for pre-operative assessment approximately one week prior to admission. You will be required to fast (no food or drinks) for a period of time before your operation; this will be confirmed in writing along with your admission details.

What happens on the day of surgery?

You will be admitted to hospital usually the same day as your operation with a planned overnight stay. Mr Hoad-Reddick will explain the procedure again and consent forms will be signed. The operated leg will be marked and an expected time for your surgery given.

When you are admitted to the hospital on the day of your surgery, you will see the anaesthetist who will discuss your previous history and ensure that you are fit for surgery. This will give you an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have regarding anaesthesia.

You will be taken down to theatre by a porter and handed over to the theatre staff. They will attach devices to monitor your heart rate and oxygen levels during the procedure. The anaesthetist will then administer the anaesthetic drugs through a cannula (a very thin tube) in the back of your hand.

What happens during knee arthroscopy surgery?

Knee arthroscopy is performed under general anaesthetic. Once you are asleep under the effects of the anesthetic, a small incision will be made on both sides of your knee. The knee will be filled with sterile fluid to open up the space and the arthroscope (camera) inserted.

Mr Hoad-Reddick will then assess the tissues within your knee and treat any identified problems where possible. Common problems include cartilage damage and lose

bodies. The fluid will be drained from the knee at the end of the procedure. The incisions will be closed with the use of stitches and a bandage dressing will be placed around the knee. The procedure takes between twenty and forty minutes.

Following surgery you will be taken to the recovery unit, returning to your room on the ward once stable.

What risks are associated with knee arthroscopy surgery?

As with any operation, knee arthroscopy carries risks as well as benefits; the majority of patients however undergoing this type of surgery will encounter no complication.

Infection: Infection is rare, carrying the risk of 1:1000. This would be treated with antibiotics. To reduce infection risk, surgery is performed in a specially ventilated 'clean air' operating theatre. If your surgical wound is wet, oozing, overly red or swollen, or it smells unpleasant, then please contact Stafford suite as soon as possible on0161 495 7022.

Blood clots (DVT): Occasionally a blood clot can form in the deep veins of the leg causing pain and swelling in the calf, in a minority of cases, this can break away and travel to the heart or lungs and become a risk to life. The risk of DVT with knee arthroscopy is in the region of 3%.

Residual pain: Related to underlying degenerative change (wear and tear).

Bleeding into the joint: An abnormal collection of blood in the knee joint (hemarthrosis) is rare.

Scarring: Small skin scars on either side of the knee.

Occasionally amicro fracture technique may be performed whereby small holes (or micro fractures) are deliberately made in the bone in an attempt to stimulate new cartilage growth. Crutches will be necessary to mobilize following surgery and there is a very specific post-micro fracture rehabilitation program that we strongly recommend for all patients undergoing this procedure. This is supported by the physiotherapy team here at BMI The Alexandra hospital.

What will my recovery from a knee arthroscopy be like?

Exercise and mobility are an important part of rehabilitation to obtain optimum recovery. A physiotherapist will see you prior to discharge to give advice and exercises to continue at home. A physiotherapy review may be recommended in a further weeks time.

Occasionally a microfracture technique may be performed whereby small holes (or microfractures) are made in the bone in an attempt to stimulate new cartilage growth. Mobilization with the use of crutches will be necessary and the requirement to follow a post-microfracture procedure.

For more information download our discharge information booklet here.

What will happen when I go home?

The majority of patients are able to return home on the day of the procedure, mobilizing without the use of crutches. The nursing staff will advise on wound care and dressings. For further reference please download our wound care booklet here.

On discharge you will be given aclinic appointment with Mr Hoad-Reddick at ten to fourteen days following your surgery; your stitches will be removed at this stage.

PLEASE NOTE - You must refrain from driving for at least one week. Please wait until you are able to walk without a significant limp and are no longer using crutches or this may impact on your car insurance.