Arthroscopy or ‘Keyhole Surgery’

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Arthroscopy, commonly called ‘keyhole surgery’, has become a safe, widely used technique for diagnosis and treatment of many conditions affecting joints such as the knee.

Insertion of a camera (arthroscope) into the knee through a small cut (portal) next to the kneecap allows the surgeon to inspect all areas of the joint, including the articular surfaces, the cartilage discs (menisci), and cruciate ligaments. A second portal allows the insertion of instruments which are employed to trim cartilage tears and smooth rough articular surfaces.

The procedure is usually performed under a full (general) anaesthetic, and the patient is discharged from hospital within 8 hours, after seeing a physiotherapist for an appropriate exercise programme. Return to work and driving a car is usual within 10 days.

As with any operation, there are recognised complications which occasionally occur, however these are very rare. Bleeding into the knee may cause some swelling, and very rarely infection may lead to further surgery. Such risks are always discussed in detail with the surgeon prior to the patient undergoing the procedure.