About the surgery:
Knee Arthroscopy is key-hole surgery using a narrow pencil sized fibre-optic camera and light to look inside the knee joint. This allows the surgeon to safely and accurately assess damage to the knee joint and to perform corrective procedures as required. Knee arthroscopy is performed as a day procedure and involves a general anaesthetic.
What to expect after surgery:
Following surgery, you will be given pain relief and given time to recover. You will be able to go home several hours after the procedure. On discharge you should not drive and will need to be collected.
You will require crutches for the first few days following surgery, and during this time you should rest and keep activities to a minimum.
When you feel comfortable using a single crutch you should use it on the opposite side to your operated knee. Some swelling in the knee is to be expected and is best treated by elevating your leg when seated for the first few days after surgery. An ice pack applied for 20 to 30 minutes every few hours, at least for the first few days following surgery, will greatly assist in reducing the swelling and pain.
You should regularly gently flex or bend the knee joint as soon as you feel comfortable to avoid developing stiffness. Please follow the exercise leaflet provided to you before surgery for advice on exercises.
Caring for your wounds:
You will have two small wounds on either side of your knee. There will be small dressings placed over the wounds which need to be kept clean and dry, and remain on for two weeks. A small amount of bleeding into the dressings is normal. If you have concerns that your portals are bleeding excessively, apply pressure to the knee, rest, apply ice and elevate your knee. If the bleeding continues please contact our rooms. You may shower but avoid wetting the dressings. If they do get wet, you should pat them dry with a clean towel. You can tape down the edges of the dressing if they begin to lift. Do not have a bath or swim until Mr Patten has seen you in his rooms at your post-operative appointment and he has cleared you for such activities.
For further information regarding wound management, please read the ‘post-operative wound management’ leaflet provided to you by our rooms before surgery.
Managing your pain:
Pain is a normal part of the healing process after surgery and will slowly improve over time. You will be given some pain relief by the hospital to take home. Panadol every four to six hours may be adequate to control the pain, otherwise you may also take other pain relief given to you by the hospital. Ensure that you regularly ice and elevate the knee to minimise pain and swelling.
If you are concerned about your level of pain, please do not hesitate to contact our rooms for reassurance and to rule out a rare complication.
Recovery from surgery:
You will feel generally recovered and functional after approximately four weeks. Full recovery may take three months or so but can vary from person to person.
The time off work is approximately three to five days for office type employment. For labour intensive work, or if you do a lot of walking or use stairs frequently, you will require longer off work which Mr Patten can discuss with you directly.
Risks and complications:
Knee arthroscopy is very safe and although uncommon, complications can occur. These include a very low risk of infection which may require antibiotics, excessive swelling, or persisting pain or dysfunction, which may require further surgery.