The aim of the arthroscopy is to look inside your knee using a tiny telescope to see what the problem is. We may be able to treat the problem at the same time using fine instruments.
If you have a torn meniscus, we will remove the torn part. If you have a loose body in the knee we will remove it. We will be able to see if you have a torn cruciate ligament. While you are under the anaesthetic, we will be able to feel how unstable your knee is with this injury. If your cruciate ligament is torn you may need another operation to replace it. It cannot be repaired. We can see if you have any arthritis and, if you do, how bad it is. In addition, having the arthroscopy may improve your symptoms due to the washing out of the joint that is part of the operation.
If you have a problem that can be corrected, the operation should stop the pain in your knee and allow you to return to your previous activities. If you have a problem such as a torn ligament, the arthroscopy will confirm the diagnosis and allow us to plan future treatment.
Are there any alternatives?
There are many ways of investigating knee problems. Arthroscopy is the only one that gives a direct view of the inside of the joint. If you have a torn meniscus or a loose body in your knee we will be able to remove the torn meniscus or loose body straight away.
What if you do nothing?
The condition is not dangerous in itself. However, without an operation your knee will not improve. It could get worse.
Who should have it done?
You should have the arthroscopy if one of the following applies to you:
- You have injured your knee and you cannot get it completely straight. This is usually due to a torn meniscus.
- You have injured your knee and it is swollen by blood in the joint. Bleeding into the knee joint usually causes a large swelling within an hour or so. Drawing blood from the knee joint with a needle will confirm this bleeding. This often means there is a torn ligament in the knee.
- You have had an MRI scan that shows a problem in the knee, such as a torn ligament or meniscus.
- You have mild arthritis of the knee.
Author: Mr Boyd Goldie MBBS FRCS BSC DHMSA. Consultant in Orthopaedics & Trauma.
© Dumas Ltd 2006