Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can improve pain, weakness, or instability of the knee. The procedure is faster and much less invasive than traditional open surgery. If you are a candidate for knee surgery, consider the arthroscopic options Dr. Obermeyer offers at Barrington Orthopedic Specialists. Book a time to meet with Dr. Obermeyer by calling the practice.
What is knee arthroscopy?
Knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure done through tiny poke holes in your knee that allow the surgeon to see your anatomy in detail while working with miniature instruments and watching on a screen. Dr. Obermeyer specializes in knee arthroscopy. Whereas traditional open surgery required hospitalization, large incisions, and prolonged recovery, arthroscopy minimizes the postoperative pain and greatly accelerates the recovery process. Many knee conditions can be treated with arthroscopy including:
- Removal or repair of a torn meniscus
- Trimming or other treatment of torn or damaged joint (articular) cartilage
- Removal of loose bodies
- Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
- Reconstruction of a torn anterior cruciate ligament
- Treatment of kneecap (patella) problems
How do I know if I have a tear in the knee?
Different tearing patterns in the knee generate different symptoms. In the case of meniscus tears, there often is a history of an injury to the knee but not always. Most patients with meniscus tears are still able to walk on the leg and have pain with pressure during walking or sometimes only when the knee is bent in certain positions. Other symptoms may include swelling, catching, locking, stiffness, or sensation of “giving way”. These symptoms all may be a reason to obtain an X-ray and sometimes an MRI scan to help assist with your diagnosis. Dr. Obermeyer will examine your knee and discuss whether further imaging studies would help, as well as review the most appropriate treatment options.
If you experienced a twisting or collision injury to the knee particularly during sporting activities and felt something pop or give way in the knee, you may have an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. Tears of this ligament usually cause sudden swelling and pain as well as difficulty walking. These symptoms especially after an injury should be evaluated. If ligament injuries are left untreated, the joint can shift on itself, risking injury to the cartilage tissues and potentially arthritis. Some active patients are candidates for arthroscopic ligament reconstruction done in a minimally invasive fashion, but not all. Dr. Obermeyer can help you make this decision.
Am I a candidate for knee arthroscopy?
Once a diagnosis is established, Dr. Obermeyer will review your imaging studies with you that may include an MRI. For some conditions including cartilage or meniscus tears, arthroscopy is considered only after a brief course of conservative nonsurgical treatment that may include temporarily modifying activity, medications or injections, or exercises and physical therapy. For other conditions including ligament tears or more substantial joint damage, sometimes proceeding to arthroscopy more promptly may be more favorable. At the time of your consultation, Dr. Obermeyer will review your options and help you make the correct choice.
What is the recovery like after knee arthroscopy?
Recovery from arthroscopy for most meniscus tears is relatively simple, and you are usually able to walk on the leg the same day. Showering is begun at three days after surgery and oftentimes physical therapy can be utilized to help regain motion of the joint. Most patients resume full daily activities in 7-10 days and driving is permitted at that time as well as return to work. Most patients experience a full recovery within a couple months. If you have a repair where the tissue is sutured you may have to avoid weight through the knee for several weeks which postpones the timing of recovery. Arthroscopic ligament (ACL) surgery requires a more tailored protocol and also takes longer for the newly reconstructed ligament to take into your knee before you resume sports. Dr. Obermeyer will review your specific condition and diagnosis with you and help customize your expectations after surgery.