The knee joint is one of the most easily injured joints and it happens to be the largest as well. Knees are vulnerable to injuries during sports or while at work and many problems also occur from disease and normal aging. Modern surgical techniques like Arthroscopic Knee Surgery or Arthroscopy are both accurate and less invasive than past techniques.
With Arthroscopy surgeons can see, diagnose, and treat the affected areas inside the knee joint. In the past, surgeons would have to open the knee joint by cutting through healthy tissue to access the damaged area within the joint causing more trauma and lengthening recovery times. Performing Arthroscopy requires a small incision where a scope is inserted and used to view and repair the damage of the knee joint. This method is less invasive than traditional surgery and has a decreased risk of infections resulting in a better recovery time and overall patient experience.
Like most injuries swelling, continuous pain, limited mobility, and lack of strength are all signs that something is wrong within the knee joint. The knee may suddenly give way while standing or walking. Or you may notice pain and swelling from doing normal activity.
Evaluation of the knee requires several steps. First, Dr. Alani will review your medical history and perform a physical examination of the joint. During your evaluation, you will be asked questions about the symptoms and if there had been an event that caused injury. Your muscle strength, range of motion, and stability will all be tested and assessed during this evaluation.
Next, Dr. Alani will have to look inside the knee joint using X-rays. This will allow the doctor to view the bones in your knee and look for signs of arthritis. If nothing is amiss the doctor may then want to do an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the knee to see if there is soft tissue damage or small bone fractures. MRI images provide the best view of the knee structure and will give the doctor a map of your joint.
Non-surgical methods are effective to treat most knee conditions. Physical therapy, pain medication, and knee bracing are combined to treat many knee joint issues. When Arthroscopy is utilized it is best suited for reconstruction of ligaments, synovium, removal or repair of meniscal cartilage, or bone fragments. After your evaluation, your doctor will discuss recommended treatment plans.
If surgery is recommended you will need to complete a physical examination. Note that most arthroscopic knee surgeries are outpatient procedures, so no need for a hospital stay.
During the procedure, your leg will be elevated and have blood flow restricted with a tourniquet. Dr. Alani will make one or more small incisions close to your knee joint about a quarter to a half an inch in length. Next, he will fill the joint with a sterile saline solution and insert the arthroscope to view the joint structures. If surgery is required, more small incisions may need to be made to allow the doctor access to the injured area of the joint.
After the bulk of the procedure is complete you may also get a shot of medication injected into the joint to reduce pain and swelling. Small incisions require just a few stitches or Steri-strips to keep them closed and a simple bandage finishes the dressing.
Once the surgery is completed you will need to apply ice and elevation to reduce pain and swelling. The use of a walker, cane, and crutches will help you walk at first and you may be required to wear a knee brace for a period of time.
While recovering your activities will be limited at first, until the doctor can see how the joint has healed. Recovery times will vary between patients as each case is going to be different. Certain ligament injuries will require the use of a knee brace for walking and require the surgeon’s approval before intense physical activity can resume.
Significant weight-bearing activities, twisting movements at the knee, and high impact on the knee joint should be avoided until cleared by Dr. Alani.
Because arthroscopic knee surgery requires less cutting of tissue, its recovery time, infection risk, and inflammation are all drastically reduced. This method of knee surgery provides excellent results and help patients return to an active lifestyle. Dr. Alani is a master knee surgeon with over 10,000 successful knee arthroscopies performed.