What To Expect From Your Upcoming Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

One of the ligaments in your knee tore when you fell. The orthopedics doctor who examined you recommended arthroscopic surgery to repair the damaged ligament. This is good news since this procedure is less invasive than traditional knee surgery. Here is what you can expect from this procedure and the first few days following the ligament repair.

No Hospital Stay is Required

You'll have the arthroscopic procedure done at an outpatient clinic or in the doctor's office. Once the repair is completed, you'll be able to go home to start your recovery. Have someone available to take you to your appointment and back home again later. You'll feel weak from the surgery and won't be able to drive yourself safely for a few days.

Anesthesia Options

Once you've checked in for your surgery, you'll speak with a doctor about the anesthesia options. A local anesthetic will be injected into the knee joint so you'll have no discomfort during the procedure. You may also receive a regional anesthetic, which deadens sensations from the waist down.

You can choose to be awake and alert during the arthroscopic procedure. There will be monitors in the surgical room on which you can watch the procedure as the orthopedic surgeon does the repair. If such things make you queasy, you can be lightly sedated so you're unaware of the procedure as it is happening.

The Arthroscopic Technique

Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the surgeon will make two small incisions over your knee joint. Into one incision, they will guide a small tube to which is attached a camera. A second tube containing surgical instruments is inserted into the other incision. Both tubes are guided into the knee joint so the surgeon can see and repair the torn ligament.

When the procedure is done, the tubes are removed and bandages are placed over the two incisions. You'll then be taken to the recovery area.

Preparing to Go Home

You'll stay in the recovery area until the anesthetic wears off. The staff will frequently check on your incisions to make sure there is no excessive drainage. They will also check on your pain level and provide medication to make you comfortable.

When the surgeon is satisfied that you are not having any bad reactions to the anesthesia or the surgery itself, you'll be able to go home. Before you leave the clinic, the doctor or staff will give you a number of instructions to follow, such as:

  • how much weight, if any, that you can put on your knee when walking with crutches
  • how much you can bend your knee for the first few days after the procedure
  • how often you can take medication to control the pain
  • how to check the bandages for excess drainage

You'll also be given prescriptions for pain medications and a date for a follow up appointment with the surgeon.

The First Few Days After Surgery

You'll spend a few days resting your knee to allow the tissues to heal. The surgeon may instruct you to do some simple exercises to bend your knee slightly to improve the circulation and keep it from getting stiff. When sitting or lying down, you'll have your knee raised to reduce swelling.

A few days after the surgery, you'll meet with your doctor. If they are satisfied with the progress of your healing, they will have you begin physical therapy. You'll then spend several weeks working with a physical therapist and doing exercises at home to gain back the full use of your knee.

For more information about this or other procedures, contact care centers like Northern Care Inc Prosthetics & Orthotics.