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Knee Arthroscopic Surgery

If you have been considering having a knee arthroscopy or just had one, surgery is only the first step. Yes, arthroscopy surgery is minimally invasive and has a shorter recovery time compared to traditional (open) surgery, you still need physical therapy before and after your arthroscopic surgery. This is because physical therapy helps to restore strength and a full range of motion to your knee after surgery. Contact a therapist at Polygon PT today to get started. We can wait to get you back on your feet and moving around without pain.

What is Knee Arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is a medical procedure that is used to diagnose and treat a lot of knee pain problems. Through a small incision or cut to the knee, your surgeon will insert an arthroscope – a tiny camera – into the knee. This allows your surgeon to view the knee joint on a screen. Through other small cuts or incisions,  tiny instruments are inserted in the knee to repair or remove the damaged area of the knee joint. Arthroscopy surgery poses less risk compared to open surgery. Since it is minimally invasive, the structures around the knee are retained. There is also less pain and quicker recovery time.

Why do I Need a Knee Arthroscopy?

If you have knee pain, your surgeon might recommend arthroscopy surgery. This may be done to diagnose the pain or treat the pain, or both. However, not all knee pain can be treated with arthroscopic surgery. Knee arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat knee injuries including:

Anterior cruciate ligament. This is a tear to one of the four ligaments of the knee

Torn meniscus (the cartilage between the bones in the knee)

Pieces of torn cartilage that are loose in the joint

Meniscus tear

Knee joint fractures

Baker’s cyst removal

Removal of inflamed synovial tissue

Treatment of kneecap (patella) problems

Treatment of knee sepsis (infection)

How do I Prepare for a Knee Arthroscopic Surgery?

Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare for your surgery. Most surgeons require gentle exercises before the surgery. Your physical therapist at Polygon PT will help you prepare for the surgery. You may need to stop taking anti-inflammatory medications before the surgery. Be sure to tell your doctor the medications you’re currently taking. You may also be required to stop eating or drinking 6 to 12 hours before surgery. Your doctor will provide information on what you’re allowed to eat or drink.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Before the surgery, you will be required to take anesthesia. This may either be local, regional, or general anesthesia.

Once you have been given anesthesia, the procedure can begin. Your surgeon will place small incisions on your knee. Sterile salt water will be put inside your knee to rinse off any cloudy fluid. This is done so the surgeon can see the joint in detail. The surgeon puts the arthroscope through one of the cuts. With the arthroscope in your knee, they can now see the images produced by the camera on the screen in the operating room. Once the problem causing your knee pain has been identified,  tiny instruments will be put through other small cuts to correct the problem. After this, the sterile solution will be drained out of the joint, and the incisions stitched. Usually, most knee arthroscopy takes less than an hour. So, you will be going home that same day.

What Complications Are Associated With Knee Arthroscopy?

Every surgery has risks. With arthroscopy though, the likelihood of complication is very low. Even if it occurs, it is minor and can be treated easily. Some complications include:

What is Recovery Like?

Recovery from knee arthroscopy is faster than traditional knee surgery. It is important to have someone help you at home for the day. To reduce pain and swelling, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs for a few days. At home, try to keep your leg elevated, and apply ice on the knee to help with the swelling and pain. You might need crutches to help you bear weight in the first week, and you will also need to keep a regular appointment with your surgeon. Your physical therapist will create a post-operative rehab program for you. This will include motion and strengthening exercises to help you regain strength and flexibility in your knee. You should be able to return to your daily activities in the first 3 weeks. High-impact activities including sports or work should be put off for a longer time. Your surgeon will tell you when to begin.

Get Started With Physical Therapy for Knee Arthroscopy Today

With a structured rehab program, the outlook for your knee arthroscopy is excellent. You shouldn’t worry about getting back to your daily activities, work, or favorite sport. You will be doing so in a couple of weeks. At Polygon PT, we are excited to help you achieve these results. Request an appointment with a therapist now to get started.