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Knee arthroscopy or key-hole knee surgery: your questions answered

knee surgery

Professor Kevin Cheah FRCS, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon


Technical advances using key-hole surgery mean that knee problems can be treated effectively and speeds up the time it takes the patient to recover from the operation. In this article on knee arthroscopy key hole surgery, Professor Cheah answers the most common questions relating to this procedure.

What is knee arthroscopy or key-hole knee surgery?

Knee arthroscopy (also called key-hole knee surgery) is an operation to investigate and treat any damage to the internal structures of the knee.


Who decides that knee key-hole surgery will be used?

It is offered to patients after consultation with a surgeon, who has studied the patient’s medical history and performed a medical examination of the knee. Additional investigations such as an X-ray or MRI scan may also be required.


How is knee key-hole surgery performed?

The procedure is performed usually under general anaesthetic although it is possible to have the operation under spinal or local anaesthetic. Through two small incisions on the front of the knee, an arthroscope (medical telescope) attached to a camera is inserted into one of the incisions. The images are then transmitted on to a television screen. The other incision allows the surgeon to insert instruments to check the structures inside the knee and perform the necessary repair.


What post-operative care is needed after knee arthroscopy?

The knee will feel sore and swollen for the first 7-10 days. Driving should be avoided for the first four days. The leg must be rested and elevated as much as possible in the first week but it is important to regularly take short walks.


How long is the recovery process after key-hole knee surgery?

Depending on the amount of remedial work performed, it may take between 2-4 weeks to recover.

Professor Kevin Cheah

Profile of the author

Professor Kevin Cheah FRCS, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, graduated from Sheffield University and has worked at a number of hospitals including Oswestry Hospital and Bromfield Hospital before moving to Springfield Hospital in 1992. Professor Cheah has been a driving force behind recent advances in bioengineering research, having developed new methods of repairing cartilage tissue in the knee. He also holds the post of Professor of Bioengineering at Anglia Ruskin University.