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Knee Arthroscopic Surgery

Knee Arthroscopy Surgery Before and After PhotosArthroscopy is a surgical procedure during which the internal structure of a joint is examined for diagnosis and treatment of problems inside the joint.

The knee is a common site to have this procedure. During an arthroscopic surgery, typically two small incisions (or portals) are made in the patient’s skin through which pencil-sized instruments are passed into the knee. Through one portal, we place a small lens and lighting system (arthroscope). Through the other portal, we place surgical instruments to perform the surgery.

The arthroscope magnifies and illuminates the structures of the joint with the light that is transmitted through fiber optics.


Knee treatments that can be done arthroscopically include:

  • Removal or repair of a torn meniscus
  • Removal of loose fragments of bone or cartilage
  • Treatment of subchondral fractures of the tibia or femur
  • Removal of inflamed synovial tissue
  • Treatment of knee sepsis (infection)
  • Treatment of cartilage injuries
  • Reconstruction of torn ligament

4 Signs you May Need an Arthroscopic Procedure

Sharp pain in the knee tends to be meniscal pain while achy pain tends to be arthritis pain. Non-surgical treatments for a meniscal tear may include a period of rest, brace usage, physical therapy and possibly medications or injections to manage the pain. Sharp pain from a meniscus tear that does not resolve with non-surgical solutions may benefit from arthroscopic surgery.

Swelling is typically most pronounced immediately following an injury. With a meniscus tear, typically, there will be intermittent swelling following an initial period of pronounced swelling. Damaged tissues, ligaments or tendons can all cause mild to severe swelling. A fracture, dislocation or synovitis can also cause generalized knee swelling.

After an acute meniscal tear, ligament injury, or fracture, it may be difficult to put your full weight on the knee joint. Typically, this inability to bear weight improves in 1-2 weeks for a meniscal tear, but can last for many weeks in the case of a fracture.

Clicking, popping, or locking are common symptoms of meniscal tears. The sensation of a marble or locking can be due to a loose body in the knee. Both conditions may benefit from arthroscopic treatment.

Diagram of the Knee with Bones and MusclesThe arthritic cartilage and underlying bone have been removed from the knee and resurfaced with metal implants on the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). A plastic spacer has been placed in between the metal implants. The undersurface of the patella is also cut and replaced with a piece of plastic.