Commonly referred to as “scoping the knee,” knee arthroscopy provides orthopaedic surgeons
with a better solution for repairing damaged ligaments and cartilage compared to open
surgery. Large incisions associated with open surgery complicate orthopaedic procedures by
increasing the likelihood of infection; additionally, large incisions prolong the
post-operative recovery period, and also cause significant scarring. For sports injuries,
knee arthroscopy provides patients with results that allow them to return to the playing
field in a much shorter amount of time when compared to traditional open surgery.
Anatomy Of The Knee
The knee is made up of the femur (thighbone), the tibia (shinbone), and the patella
(kneecap). The bottom of the femur attaches to the top of the tibia to form a swinging,
hinge-like joint. The two connecting ends of the bone are lined with cartilage, which
provides a smooth surface that lets the bones glide easily, by limiting friction. The
patella attaches and helps protect the joint formed by the tibia and femur. Ligaments attach
the knee joint to the surrounding muscles to provide additional support for the knee.
Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
In a knee arthroscopy procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision around the knee large
enough to insert the arthroscope, a fiber-optic camera that sends video images to a computer
monitor. This allows surgeons to repair the affected components by providing a sufficient
view of the operating field without making a large incision. In a second small incision, the
surgeon inserts the operating instruments, roughly pencil-sized, to perform the operation.
The surgeon uses the video imaging to navigate around the knee joint, allowing for precise
and accurate knee repair.
Knee arthroscopy is performed most commonly for the following treatments:
- Repair or reconstruction of ligament tears / microfracturing (ACL tear, PCL tear)
- Repairing / removing a torn meniscus
- Loose body removal (floating bone and cartilage)
ACL Surgery Using Knee Arthroscopy
Tearing the knee’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one
of the most common sports-related injuries. Patients sustaining an ACL tear typically hear a
loud “pop”, and may report their knee “giving out” from underneath them. Knee swelling and
joint pain follow, making any activity involving the knee joint extremely painful.
Through a combination of noninvasive care, such as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and
Elevation), physical medicine and rehabilitation, and knee arthroscopy, patients can restore
previous levels of activity and return to athletic endeavors. Schedule an appointment at Dr.
Haar’s Dr. Haar’s New York office, conveniently located in Manhattan, on the Upper East