What To Expect From Arthroscopic Surgery On Your Knee

You injured the ligaments in your knee when you slipped and fell, so the orthopedic doctor recommended arthroscopic surgery to repair the torn ligaments. This is a less invasive procedure than traditional knee surgery, but you'll still need several weeks for a full recovery. Here is how the surgery is done and how you can successfully complete a full recovery.

Knee Surgery as an Outpatient

Traditional knee surgery requires spending time in the hospital. The knee joint must be exposed with a long incision which disrupts muscles and other soft tissues in your knee that must heal following the surgery. Arthroscopic surgery is done in the doctor's office or an outpatient clinic. You'll go home the same day shortly after the procedure. The incisions required are minimal and don't affect as much of the healthy tissue in the knee.

You'll be given a local anesthetic to deaden any feeling in your knee. You may also be lightly sedated so you are drowsy and unaware of the procedure. However, you can often choose to stay conscious during the procedure and watch it on monitors in the surgical room.

The surgeon makes two small incisions in your knee. They then insert a tube with an attached camera into one of the incisions. They guide the tube into your knee joint so they can observe the repair as it is being done. The surgeon then inserts another tube and any equipment necessary for the repair into the second incision.

The surgeon does the repair while looking through a microscope at the damaged ligaments. Only small amounts of soft tissue in your knee are affected by these incisions and instruments. Once the repair is completed, the tubes are removed and small bandages are placed over the incisions.

You'll be taken to a recovery area to rest until the anesthetic wears off. The surgeon will check on you frequently and, once satisfied that you aren't having any ill effects from the procedure, you'll be sent home.

Completing Your Recovery at Home

While less tissue is affected by arthroscopic surgery, you'll still need several weeks to recover. The ligaments repaired in your knee take a long time to heal. Ligaments have less blood flowing through them than muscles and other soft tissues. This slows down the healing of the tissue that was repaired.

Your doctor will have you begin physical therapy to recondition the muscles and ligaments in your knee. You'll go to sessions in a physical therapy clinic and learn exercises that you can do at home. The treatment program will start by focusing on the movement of your knee followed by the strengthening of your knee muscles.

During this time, you'll set a pace with the physical therapist which will allow you to make progress without overworking your knee. Because it takes weeks for ligaments to heal, your knee is vulnerable to being re-injured, even to the point of needing additional surgery. Your goal is to stick to the pace and not put too mush stress on the knee as you recover. Slow incremental progress is how a successful recovery from this knee surgery is accomplished.

If you think you need arthroscopic surgery, contact a company like Framingham Orthopedic Associates to schedule a consultation.