Step 1: Introduction
Diagnostic knee arthroscopy is a procedure performed to check for disease or damage inside the knee joint. Problems may include arthritis, meniscus damage, or a torn ACL. A camera attached to an instrument called an arthroscope is used to see inside the knee.
Step 2: Procedure
Your anesthesiologist will determine whether to use general, regional, or local anesthesia. The surgeon will make small incisions around the knee joint and the arthroscope will be inserted into one of the incisions. Saline solution is pumped into the joint to expand it and improve visualization. Images from the arthroscope are sent to a video monitor where the surgeon can see inside the joint. Using the video monitor as a guide, the surgeon will locate the problem area and make a diagnosis. Finally, the saline solution is drained, instruments are removed, and the incisions are closed using sutures.
Step 3: Risks and Recovery
Risks are minimal and may include infection, tissue damage, or blood clots. Diagnostic knee arthroscopy typically is an outpatient procedure and you should be able to return home the same day. You may be asked to ice and elevate your leg for several days following your operation and your surgeon may suggest you use crutches to keep from applying weight to your affected leg. You will have a follow-up appointment one to two weeks after surgery, during which your surgeon will inspect your incisions, and any non-dissolvable sutures will be removed.
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