Arthroscopy is the examination of the interior of a joint by using an arthroscope or “scope,” a flexible, fibre-optic tube with a small camera connected to a monitor. This surgery is sometimes referred to as ‘keyhole surgery,’ allowing a surgeon to see a magnified view of your joint. Specially designed arthroscopic surgical tools are also used to perform different types of minimally invasive joint surgery.
Knee arthroscopy can be used to assess the level of joint damage resulting from an injury, such as a sports injury, or from underlying conditions that can cause joint damage, such as osteoarthritis.
What Are The Benefits of a Knee Arthroscopy?
- Less post-op pain
- Faster healing time
- Lower risk of infection
- Discharged the same day
- Quicker recovery
How Do I Know if I Need a Knee Arthroscopy?
The signs and symptoms someone may be experiencing vary depending on the severity of the injury to the knee or joint in question. Symptoms may, however include and consist of:
- A painful condition that does not respond to other treatments
- A torn meniscus
- A torn ligament
- Inflamed synovial tissue
- Damaged cartilage
- Loose bone or cartilage
- Knee sepsis
The Knee Arthroscopy Procedure
This procedure is usually done under general anaesthetic. However, there are circumstances under which local anaesthetic may be an option and this should be discussed with your surgeon before surgery.
First, a needle is inserted into the joint and a solution is injected to create fluid pressure around the joint, to enable the surgeon to visualise the area’s anatomy. Then, a cannula is inserted into the joint area and the arthroscope is inserted through the cannula to visualise the joint.
If a repair is required or, for example, cartilage needs removing, instruments can be passed through the cannula into the joint to stitch, repair or reshape any deformities found in the joint. Most arthroscopies will last around 1 hour and can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
What Are The Risks of a Knee Arthroscopy?
Although knee arthroscopies are fairly quick and minimally invasive compared to other surgeries, there are some (rare) risks to consider as a form of surgery. These may include:
- Cartilage damage
- Blood clot
How Much Does a Knee Arthroscopy Cost?
- Privately, knee arthroscopy surgery costs around £3,540, but it may often be more.
- This treatment is available on the NHS for those who meet the criteria, however there is a long waiting list of up to 18 months, potentially longer (except in the event of infection).