Arthroscopic Knee Surgery and Recovery: What You Need to Know
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a relatively simple outpatient procedure that involves removing damaged tissue in the knee to allow healthy cartilage to grow. Typically, patients with a small area of damaged cartilage undergo this type of knee surgery.
Preparing for Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
In order to have a quick recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery, patients need to take steps to prepare for the procedure with a few simple lifestyle modifications. We typically recommend a comprehensive physical examination with your family physician to ensure you are in good health before treatment, if you have not had one in the past year. Some pre-operative tests, such as a blood cell count or an electrocardiogram (EKG) may be necessary to qualify you for this type of surgery.
This procedure can be performed under local, regional, or general anesthesia. You will be advised not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. Arthroscopic knee surgery recovery time will vary by patient but can be influenced by lifestyle and overall health of the patient.
How Arthroscopic Knee Surgery is Performed
This procedure involves making a series of very small incisions in the knee and filling the joint with a sterile solution. This allows us to see the treatment area more clearly using the small video camera (arthroscope). Next we will create two small incisions around the front of the knee so that the camera can be inserted and the area can be accessed using arthroscopic tools. Your surgeon will then perform the procedure.
After the excess fluid is drained from the treatment area, the incisions will be closed. This is a natural process that can only occur when the patient takes good care of their health and limits movement during the recovery process.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Recovery Time
Many patients have questions about the arthroscopic knee surgery recovery time and wonder how much time they will have to take off work to accommodate for the recovery phase. Since it’s imperative that the knee heals as quickly as possible, patients need to accommodate for the healing process by getting plenty of rest, eating a well-balanced diet, and modifying use of the treated knee for at least a few weeks.
Recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery is faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery. You will need to keep your leg elevated for the first few days and possibly use crutches. Most patients are able to start driving again between one and three weeks after their procedure depending on which knee is having surgery. Therapeutic exercises to strengthen the knee begin immediately and are recommended for several weeks after surgery.