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Knee Arthroscopy

Knee Arthroscopy


Knee arthroscopy was developed approximately 20 years ago in both Canada and Europe. Using minimally invasive surgical techniques and fibre optic camera systems, the surgeon can inspect the inside of the knee joint and perform surgery with small instruments. An arthroscopy may be useful in trimming torn menisci following sporting accidents and removing loose fragments of bone.

An arthroscopy can also be used to determine the amount and location wear and tear changes associated with osteoarthritis. This may help the surgeon determine whether a patient requires a knee replacement, and exactly what type of knee replacement is needed. This depends on the extent of the wear in any given area. The procedure might diminish the pain associated by the build up of painful substances within a swollen arthritic knee joint, avoiding the need for a knee replacement for several months, if not longer.

Most arthroscopy can be performed under general anaesthetic as a day case procedure, limiting the amount of time the patient has to stay in hospital.
  Knee Arthroscopy
  removal of loose fragments of bone
removal of loose fragments of cartilage

If you have persistent pain, catching, or swelling in your knee, a procedure known as arthroscopy may help relieve these problems.

Arthroscopy allows an orthopaedic surgeon to diagnose and treat knee disorders by providing a clear view of the inside of the knee with small incisions, utilizing a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope. The scope contains optic fibers that transmit an image of your knee through a small camera to a television monitor. The TV image allows the surgeon to thoroughly examine the interior of your knee and determine the source of your problem. During the procedure, the surgeon also can insert surgical instruments through other small incisions in your knee to remove or repair damaged tissues.

Modern or contemporary arthroscopy of the knee was first performed in the late 1960s. With improvements of arthroscopes and higher-resolution cameras, the procedure has become highly effective for both the accurate diagnosis and proper treatment of knee problems. Today, arthroscopy is one of the most common orthopaedic procedures in the world .

Whether you have just begun exploring treatment options for your problem knee or have already decided, with your orthopaedic surgeon, to have an arthroscopy, this page will help you understand more about this valuable procedure.

  How the Normal Knee Works

The knee is the largest joint in the body, and one of the most easily injured. It is made up of the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), the upper end of the shin bone (tibia), and the knee cap (patella), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur. Four bands of tissue, the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, and the medial and lateral collateral ligaments connect the femur and the tibia and provide joint stability. Strong thigh muscles give the knee strength and mobility.

The surfaces where the femur, tibia and patella touch are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth substance that cushions the bones and enables them to glide freely. Semicircular rings of tough fibrous-cartilage tissue called the lateral and medial menisci act as shock absorbers and stabilizers.
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The bones of the knee are surrounded by a thin, smooth tissue capsule lined by a thin synovial membrane which releases a special fluid that lubricates the knee, reducing friction to nearly zero in a healthy knee.

Knee Problems

Normally, all parts of the knee work together in harmony. But sports, work injuries, arthritis, or weakening of the tissues with age can cause wear and inflammation, resulting in pain and diminished knee function.

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  Arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and treat many of these problems:
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» Torn meniscal cartilage.
» Loose fragments of bone or cartilage.
Damaged joint surfaces or softening of the articular cartilage known as chondromalacia.
Inflammation of the synovial membrane, such as rheumatoid or gouty arthritis.
Abnormal alignment or instability of the kneecap.
Torn ligaments including the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments.

By providing a clear picture of the knee, arthroscopy can also help the orthopaedic surgeon decide whether other types of reconstructive surgery would be beneficial.

removal of inflamed synovial tissue
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