The knee is the largest joint in the body, and it endures harsh use every day. From the time toddlers begin walking and throughout life, the knees bear the full weight of the body and impact in every step. Your knee supports your actions whether you’re playing sports, jumping and landing, or just walking around – especially on hard surfaces like pavement.
Arthroscopic knee surgery is a minimally invasive type of operation. It is one of the most common types of surgery performed today, with roughly two million arthroscopic knee surgeries performed worldwide each year.
How Does Arthroscopic Knee Surgery Work?
The purpose of knee arthroscopy (also called a knee scope) is to analyze and repair any damage to the structures within the knee. This is commonly performed to treat a torn meniscus (knee cartilage) or for ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction.
In most cases, after a patient has recovered from an arthroscopic knee surgery, the mechanical issues and pain present prior to the procedure are gone. With a well functioning knee, especially in younge patients, the goal is to avoid needing any additional procedures in the future and to stay active and healthy. The risk over time is that the knee could develop more wear-and-tear or arthritis in the future, not specifically related to an arthroscopic procedure, but due to the original injury and damage to the knee. Your orthopedic surgeon may recommend a combined treatment of knee arthroscopy with PRP (platelet-rich plasma) or stem cell therapy, which is the focus of ongoing research.
Why Do I Need Knee Arthroscopy?
In addition to a torn meniscus or a torn ACL, you may require arthroscopic knee surgery to help repair damage caused by an overuse injury, as well as damage to the articular cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. This type of knee pain due to osteoarthritis, in more mild forms, can sometimes be addressed arthroscopically as well.
By performing knee surgery arthroscopically, it permits a faster recovery, less pain, and less joint stiffness following the procedure as compared to traditional open surgery. During the arthroscopy, your surgeon will analyze the various aspects of your knee to determine what is causing you pain or problems moving your knee, and will address any issues that are identified.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee is a hinge joint: the union between the tibia (lower leg bone, or shinbone), the femur (upper leg bone, or thighbone), and the patella (kneecap). At the knee, the ends of the tibia and femur are coated with slippery cartilage to help the joint move smoothly. The interior of the knee joint is lined with the synovial membrane.
There are two moon-shaped shock absorbers, the meniscal cartilage, in each knee – and each is called a meniscus. These cushion the femur and tibia, allowing smooth movement. However, these can wear out and tear.
There are also four main ligaments that hold each knee together: the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), the PCL (posterior cruciate ligatment), the MCL (medial collateral ligament), and the LCL (lateral collateral ligament).
Knee Surgeon in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill
If you or someone you know has an injured knee or chronic knee pain due to arthritis, talk to an experienced orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Brett Gilbert has vast experience treating joint pain of all kinds, from minimally invasive methods such as pain-relief injections to full joint reconstruction. He will use the most conservative and minimally invasive method possible to treat your knee and get it back to a more pain-free and flexible state again.
Here in the Triangle region of North Carolina, Dr. Brett J. Gilbert is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedist whose specialties are the knees and hips. Contact our office today by calling (919) 788-8797 or request an appointment online, and let Dr. Gilbert help bring you back to your more active lifestyle!