Typical of most surgeries, before you come in for arthroscopic surgery you will meet with your surgeon for a complete physical examination. During your physical, he or she will determine if your injury or pain can be alleviated or improved through surgery and what method will best suit your specific need. During the examination you will also be assessed for health issues or problems that may hinder the surgery or recovery process.
As certain medications can interfere with surgery, it is important to tell your surgeon about any medications, herbs, or supplements you are taking. If necessary, your surgeon will tell you which medications you may not take prior to surgery. Additional blood or EKG (electrocardiogram) tests may be required to ensure you are healthy enough to have surgery.
Arthroscopic surgeries are commonly performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can leave the hospital the same day as your procedure. Most surgery centers and hospitals require you to arrive 1-2 hours before the procedure is scheduled to begin.
The amount and type of anesthesia required depends on the severity of your injury and the extent of repairs and work required during the procedure. You will meet with an anesthesiologist to determine whether you want and/or need local anesthesia to numb only the knee, regional anesthesia to numb everything below the waist, or general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep. Patients who choose regional or local anesthesia may be able to watch the procedure on a television monitor if their center offers it.
After you have been numbed, the orthopaedic surgeon will make a single incision in your knee for the ParallelPortal System. At this time a sterile solution will be used to flush away cloudy fluid from the knee joint, providing a clearer vision for your surgeon. Once your knee is flushed out, an arthroscope will be used to give your surgeon a better view of possible damage in the joint. If necessary, your surgeon will then place surgical instruments such as cutters, graspers, and punches into the ParallelPortal System to aid in repairing cartilage, bone or inflamed synovial tissue.
Once the surgery is complete, the surgeon may seal the incisions with Dermabond glue, steri-strips, or stitches and then cover the site with a bandage. In many cases, a skin suture is not necessary and all that is required is glue. With assistance you should be able to return home the day of the surgery.
The time required for a typical knee arthroscopy
Single Portal Arthroscopy (SPA) has been linked to faster recovery (patients reported 27% less interference with daily routine activities one month after surgery than traditional arthroscopic surgeries), however, recovery time should still be expected. Slight swelling, pain, and reduced mobility after surgery are all normal side effects of arthroscopic surgery.
After surgery keep your leg elevated for the first few days. If recommended by your surgeon, apply ice to reduce swelling and pain.
While some patients are able to walk out of the surgery center, not all are. You may need crutches or assistance to walk for a few days after surgery. Your surgeon will give you more information regarding when it’s safe to move about based on your surgery and your follow-up visit.
After surgery a dressing will be used to cover your knee to keep your incisions clean and dry. Your surgeon will help you determine how quickly you can bathe and how often you should change the dressing.
Your ability to drive depends on a few factors: whether your car is a manual or automatic, on which knee was operated, your pain level, the procedure, if you are taking pain medications, and if you can control your knee.
Depending on your pain level you will be prescribed pain medication. In a study between SPA and standard arthroscopy patients, 42% of SPA patients did not take any pain pills after leaving the faclity, compared to just 10% of 2 portal surgery patients. In addition, you may be prescribed aspirin to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Exercising is essential for healing and for maintaining the motion and strength of your knee and leg muscles. Discuss with your surgeon which exercises are appropriate after surgery and how quickly you should begin. You may consider or be recommended a formal physical therapy program to help you during recovery.
Only 58% of SPA patients took pain pills after leaving the facility.
90% of patients took pain pills after 2 portal surgery.