Arthroscopy means keyhole surgery and began in the knee joint (as its the largest joint in the body and relatively easy to access). Although many other areas are now accessible to arthroscopy, it is still most effective in treating conditions of the knee.
If you are having an arthroscopy, you will almost certainly have had an MRI scan beforehand. Mr. Miles will discuss your scan with you and a plan of what will be done at arthroscopy.
The operation involves two very small incisions on the front of the knee: one is used to insert a camera and the other for instruments. It can be used to treat a number of conditions. The most common procedures are resections of torn meniscus, removal of loose bodies and debridement of loose areas of cartilage.
It is done as a day case operation in the majority of cases (if both knees are being done at the same time it is more typical to stay for one night). Although the cuts are small, the swelling after surgery tends to persist for 4-8 weeks so it is usually not possible to return straight to work or driving.
There are small risks of deep vein thrombosis or knee infection, both of which occur in less than 1 in 250 patients.
You will have a large bandage on your knee for the first 48 hours: this can then be removed to leave two small adhesive dressings in place to cover the small wounds. There is a little stitch in each wound and these are removed at 10-14 days after surgery.
Return to work varies with your occupation: heavy manual work is often the hardest to return to, particularly if kneeling or crouching are involved: this may take 8 weeks. Working from home is often possible just 24 hours after surgery. Return to office work is usually dependent on transport - often it is 4-6 weeks before driving is possible.