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Knee arthroscopy

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About knee arthroscopy 

Knee arthroscopy is a type of 'keyhole' surgery. It is used to diagnose a range of problems and conditions, such as stiffness, swelling, limited movement, weakness, osteoarthritis or damage from a sports injury.

Knee arthroscopy surgery allows a surgeon to look directly inside a joint. It involves inserting a small, flexible fibre-optic tube (arthroscope), containing a tiny camera, into the knee joint. 

If your surgeon sees any problems, such as damaged tissue or loose bone or cartilage, he or she can sometimes pass small instruments through the arthroscope in order to remove or repair them.

How can I prepare for knee arthroscopy?

Before you undergo knee arthroscopy, you doctor will first evaluate you to ensure that it is safe for you to have the procedure.Take the opportunity to talk to your doctor and ask him or her to explain the procedure and what they are planning.

Before the procedure, your doctor may suggest several tests, including a blood test, an electrocardiogram to measure the electrical pulses in your heart or an X-ray. 

You should also tell your doctor about any medications that you're taking. You may be asked to stop taking certain medications before the procedure.

What happens during my treatment?

A knee arthroscopy is usually carried out under either a general anaesthetic or a local anaesthetic.If you have it under local a local anaesthetic, you will be away for the procedure but you will not be able to feel it. 

You will first be asked to lie down and your leg positioned so that your surgeon can access your knee easily. He or she will first make a small incision in your knee.  A sterile solution will be used to wash out the joint so that your surgeon can see inside the joint clearly.

Your surgeon will insert the arthoscope through the small incision and into your knee joint. He or she will be able to examine your joint and look on the screen to diagnose any problems.

If he or she sees a problem then a small surgical instrument can be passed through another incision to repair it. This might include removing damaged or torn cartilage, reconstructing torn ligaments and removing fragments of bone or inflamed tissue. 

After this, your surgeon will remove the arthroscope and stitch up the small incisions or close them with adhesive strips. 

Are there any complications or risks with a knee arthroscopy?

Like any procedure, a knee arthroscopy carries some risk of complications. However these are rare.They include allergic reactions, infections and bleeding in the knee joint.Talk to your doctor for more information about the risks of local steroid injections.

Recovering from a knee arthroscopy

You will usually be able to leave the hospital one or two hours after having a knee arthroscopy.

After you have left hospital, you can help your recovery by keeping your leg elevated and applying an ice pack to your knee.

You may need to use crutches after this procedure. Talk to your doctor about when you can bear weight on your legs.You will usually be given some physical therapy exercises to carry out in the weeks following your surgery to help strengthen your knee. Following these exercises will help you recover as best as possible.

How much does knee arthroscopy cost?

For a guide to what you could pay for your treatment, click here.

What to do now

Once you have decided that you would like to be treated at an HCA hospital, or would like further information, here's what to do next:

  1. Call one of our advisors on + 44 (0) 20 7079 4399 or complete our web enquiry form.
  2. Check with your insurance company that your policy covers your treatment, and obtain authorisation.
  3. Visit or call your GP to obtain a referral letter and then call us to make an appointment to visit your chosen consultant and hospital at a time to suit you.
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