Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
Arthroscopic knee surgery is used to diagnose and treat a number of knee joint conditions. With the arthroscopic approach, small incisions are made that allow the doctor to insert a high-powered fiber optic camera and surgical instruments into the knee area. As the doctor watches a monitor linked to the camera, he or she can address the specific needs inside the knee joint.
This type of knee surgery is used for conditions like torn meniscus, torn or damaged anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), swollen or damaged lining of the joint, misaligned kneecap, small pieces of broken cartilage in the knee joint, removal of Baker’s cyst, and some fractures of the bones of the knee.
“Knee injuries such as meniscus tears or ligament injuries such as ACL tears can present with pain, swelling, instability where the joint feels like it’s going to give out or sometimes it’s locked and can’t move at all because something’s stuck in the knee.”
Advantages of knee arthroscopy include minimal scarring, reduced pain and bleeding, and lower chance of infection than open surgery.
About 200,000 ACL injuries occur every year, often from intense sports like football, skiing, basketball, and soccer. Roughly half of those injuries only require physical therapy and rehabilitation to restore use. But when the injury is more serious or affects surrounding tissue, the patient may need surgery to repair and re-stabilize the ACL and surrounding areas.
In general, ACL repair uses a tendon from either the patient or a cadaver to rebuild the ACL mechanism. Sources include: a patellar tendon autograft (taken from another area on the patient), hamstring tendon autograft, quadriceps tendon autograft, or allograft (taken from a cadaver) patellar tendon, Achilles tendon, semitendinosus, gracilis, or posterior tibialis tendon.
Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery
The knees — the largest joints in your body — are comprised of bones, cartilage, meniscus and ligaments. One small tear, sprain or break to the knee can keep you off your feet and out of all the physical activities you enjoy. While anyone can experience a knee injury, women, athletes, those who are overweight and older adults with poor balance or arthritis are at the highest risk.
Do You Need Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery?
To treat some knee injuries, the RICE method — rest, ice, compression and elevation — along with bracing and anti-inflammatory medication, may be enough to relieve the pain, but surgery might be recommended if symptoms persist. Surgery doesn’t have to be scary, and many knee injuries can be treated with minimally invasive techniques.
For example, knee arthroscopy is a type of minimally invasive surgery that allows surgeons to perform an operation through a smaller incision than traditional surgery. During this procedure, a small camera is inserted and gives the surgeon a detailed view of the inside of the knee. The surgeon can then navigate small surgical instruments to mend the damaged joint. Minimally-invasive surgery has several benefits, including less pain, less damage to tissue around the incision and often a shorter recovery time.
Most ideal candidates are at a healthy weight, committed to participating in rehabilitation after surgery and have lower risk of complications from surgery.
“Some patients that are in the age range of 55 and older with degenerative meniscus tears can be managed without surgery. The younger patients, 15-20-year-old athletes with meniscus tears, an ACL tear or combination of both more often than not surgery may be the first recommendation.”
– Dr. Jonathan Hersch, orthopaedic surgeon, sports medicine, shoulder, knee and hip arthroscopy.