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What is an Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure of the joint, carried out with the help of an arthroscope. An arthroscope is an endoscope which is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Two small incisions are made; one for the arthroscope and the second one for the surgical instruments that have to be used during the surgery.

Arthroscopy can even facilitate the treatment of damaged joints.

What is an Arthroscopy with lateral release?

An arthroscopy with lateral release is performed when your fibrous lateral bands of the knee are too tight. These tight bands pull the kneecap laterally out if its groove.

During the surgery these bands are cut, which allows the kneecap to return to its groove. Local, regional or general anesthesia may be used.

Advantages of this procedure are:

  • Reduced recovery time
  • Only two small incisions are made instead of opening the whole knee
  • Less trauma to connective tissue
  • Higher success rates

Risks of this procedure are:

  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia
  • Breathing problems
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot
  • Injury of the nerve, vessels, cartilages, meniscus or ligaments
  • Knee stiffness

What to expect after the surgery?

After arthroscopy, your knee will remain swollen for up to 15 days. It is very important to wait until there is no more swelling before you try to walk, do any exercise and return to your daily routine. The knee is not yet stable, and extensive exercise will cause the joint to swell more. More swelling will cause serious problems and a lot of pain.

Your surgeon will prescribe oral painkillers for the pain.

There might be some drainage from the wound, even a bloody one (for the first 24 - 48 hours), but don't be scared. It is normal to have some drainage as fluids may have accumulated during the surgery.

The knee should be kept elevated during the recovery time to reduce the swelling and the pain. Put a pillow under your ankle.

Ice should be put on your knee, usually for the first 24 to 72 hours after the surgery. This will also help to reduce the swelling and the pain.

It is very important to keep your wound dry, and you should not have a shower or a bath the first days after the surgery.

In most cases physiotherapy is needed after the surgery.

The recovery time, and how much swelling and pain you will have, all vary individually. Some have a shorter recovery time, while for others it takes longer.

The recovery time also depends on the reason for which arthroscopy was performed. Problems such as a torn meniscus, Baker's cyst or a broken cartilage, and problems with the synovium are often easily fixed.

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