DePuy Synthes

Understanding Knee Arthroscopy Treatment Options

DePuy Synthes

Understanding Knee Arthroscopy Treatment Options

If you’ve tried medication, physical therapy and other conservative methods of treatment, and you’re still experiencing knee pain, your doctor may recommend knee arthroscopy.

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What is Knee Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy uses a device called an arthroscope. This tiny, pen-shaped instrument has a micro video camera attached to the end. The arthroscope is inserted through a tiny incision in the knee. The camera relays images to a computer screen. Surgeons can use the images to diagnose the joint problem and to carry out appropriate surgery.

During this outpatient procedure, you will probably be given an IV so you can get the right fluids and medications. The anesthesia you get will be dependent on the type of surgery you are getting. Arthroscopy may be performed under general anesthesia, a local anesthetic, a spinal or epidural anesthetic or a regional block, where the knee is just numbed.

During the surgery, several tiny incisions are made to insert the arthroscope and surgical instruments. First, the surgeon uses the arthroscope to view the knee and evaluate the bones, tendons, and ligaments. Then the surgeon uses small instruments to make necessary repairs.

Once the procedure is complete, the surgeon will sew up your incision, and a dressing and bandage may be applied

What Are the Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery? 

There are potential benefits of arthroscopic surgery when compared with traditional "open" surgery. With arthroscopic surgery, it's more likely that patients will have less pain following the procedure, experience a lower risk of complications, stay in the hospital for a shorter period of time or have the procedure performed as an out-patient surgery. Patients may also have a quicker recover and experience less scarring.

What Are the Risks of Arthroscopic Surgery?    

All surgery has risks. A patient’s orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the specific risks associated with his or her procedure and recovery. The risks of orthopaedic surgery depend on the patient’s health before surgery and the type of surgery performed. In addition, a patient’s anesthesiologist will discuss the risk associated with the use of anesthesia during his or her procedure.




The performance of knee arthroscopy depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell if knee arthroscopy is right for you.

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