Arthroscopic surgery, or arthroscopy, “keyhole surgery” as it is sometimes called, is generally a simple, minimally invasive surgery that, in recent years, has seen a huge swell in popularity.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 1.5 million people receive knee arthroscopies each year.
During this procedure, the surgeon makes three small incisions in your knee and then inserts the arthroscope, which is a camera the size of a pen, into your knee to visually evaluate the condition of the joint. Then repairs are made using tiny surgical instruments through the scope.
In many cases, this surgery is necessary and very beneficial to the health of the knee. An arthroscopy can fix painful torn cartilage or a torn meniscus, bone spurs, or can be used to clean out a knee that has floating pieces of cartilage or bone. Often times, the knee joint needs to be “cleaned out” and pieces of unwanted tissue are removed that cause unwanted irritation and pain.
Depending on the condition of your injury, arthroscopy is beneficial especially if something in your knee is broken or torn. However, in some cases, this surgery can and should be avoided.
I have had several clients whose doctors wanted to perform arthroscopic surgery as a type of “exploratory surgery” to see if there is anything going on in the knee that an MRI, CT, or X-ray missed. Unfortunately, this left them in more pain than before the surgery. If your doctor recommends that you have “exploratory surgery,” I would make sure and ask your doctor if it is necessary before proceeding.
No matter how “NON” invasive a surgery is, surgery is surgery. And your body faces the trauma and pain that comes with being cut and probed. The average recovery time for an arthroscopy is four to six weeks and that is assuming that the surgery was successful. It is important to weigh your options in order to determine if arthroscopic surgery is the right choice for your injury.