Knee arthroscopy is the surgical technique that allows traumatologists to treat injuries within the knee without making longitudinal incisions to open the skin or the joint capsule. We enter the joint (“arthro”) of the knee with a minimal camera (“scopy”) of 4 millimeters in diameter, which means that tissue damage is minimal and recovery is speedy.
In addition to the different surgical procedures that we perform through knee arthroscopy, this technique has two unique advantages from a diagnostic point of view:
- It allows us to have a direct view of the inside of the knee
- We can directly test the resistance of the menisci, cartilage, and ligaments of the knee
This ability makes knee arthroscopy the best technique for diagnosing that exists for injuries within the joint, above tests such as MRI. Testing the resistance of a ligament by pulling on it directly, or subjecting the cartilage to stress, sometimes reveals injuries that go unnoticed in imaging tests.
MRI is a test with computer reconstructions from a series of “slices” of our anatomy while we are lying down (without weight on the knees). This can mean that if we deal with a small cartilage lesion that moves when walking or bending over, we obtain a standard image if that fragment remains in place during the test or its fracture line remains between adjacent cuts.
On other occasions, we can see a lesion with a poor prognosis in the MRI, it is not so, or it is in the process of healing during arthroscopy. In the image, I show you a meniscal tear seen by arthroscopy that was not visible in the MRI, but the patient had persistent pain for more than four months.
After the operation, the knee joint is fixed with an orthosis with a limited range of motion in the knee joint. Walking is allowed from the day following the operation with additional support on crutches. You must not step on your foot entirely for at least three weeks after surgery.
Rehabilitation after knee surgery
After surgery to repair a knee injury, it is time for rehabilitation. It is a process that can be more or less long, sometimes even tedious. But its purpose is the total recovery of the functionality of the joint and, in the case of athletes, the resumption of sports activity.
As is logical, the program and the rehabilitation time will depend on the type of injury indicated by the surgery. This is because a meniscus intervention is not the same as another done to repair a fracture, a torn anterior cruciate ligament, or to place a full or partial denture. The type of injury will determine when rehabilitation should begin and how it should be done.
In any case, the objectives are always the same:
- Restore knee mobility.
- Recover the muscle tone and strength present before the injury that motivated the surgery.
- Return to regular activity.
Surgery to repair knee injuries is usually done using arthroscopy. The patient will be instructed to move the joint almost immediately in some cases. While in others, they should keep it almost immobilized or use crutches for a few days or weeks to avoid putting weight on it.
It all depends on the type of injury, as well as the total recovery time, the need to follow a Hip and Knee Orthopedics program in the hospital, or whether a series of recommendations that involve, among other things, performing exercises at home is enough.
After being operated on for any intervention on the knee, it will be as essential to carry out an excellent postoperative rehabilitation as the surgery itself. This recovery after surgery is divided into a series of phases to avoid the complications of the intervention. These phases are common to all interventions on the knee. If you need a Hip & Knee Orthopedics for the treatment, follow this link to book a section with us.
Also Read: When To See A Knee Specialist In Singapore.